CONROE, Texas (FOX 26) - A priest, accused of abusing two underaged victims, has been removed from a parish and rectory. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston reports this comes after Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez was arrested and charged with four counts of child indecency by Conroe police on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Father La Rosa-Lopez posted bond and is now out of jail.
One of the alleged victims said he was just 14 years old when Father La Rosa-Lopez, a priest at the Sacred Heart Church in Conroe, began touching and kissing him inappropriately. The victim claims he was molested multiple times between 1998 and 2000.
FOX 26 News is referring to the alleged victim only as "JH" to protect his identity.
"JH" said Father La Rosa-Lopez would lure him in as a young teen, and tempt him with false promises, offering him material gifts like cars and overseas trips in exchange for sexual favors.
"It was manipulating my feelings and emotions as a 14- or 15-year-old," said "JH." "It's dangling a carrot in front of my face saying you know, 'I'm going to do this for you.'"
"JH" said the inappropriate touching from Father La Rosa-Lopez continued for another two years, before "JH" decided to leave the church entirely. He said he tried to suppress the memories for almost twenty years.
"JH" said he decided in 2017 to tell the archdiocese near his home on the west coast, but he claims his cries for help were ignored..
"Having to relive something I worked so hard to bury in the back of my conscience, and I'm letting it out again, and it's something painful," said "JH." "So I have no reason to make this up, or have to embellish or anything like that. What happened, happened."
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said church officials flew in "JH" in August to speak to Sister Maureen O'Connell, the Victims' Assistance Coordinator and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo about the alleged abuse.
According to court documents, "JH" filed a report with Conroe police in August, describing in gruesome detail that said in part, "...La Rosa began touching him and making intimate gestures, which increased in frequency and severity."
At a Vatican Summit between the Pope and American bishops and cardinals, Cardinal DiNardo met with Pope Francis on Thursday to discuss how sex abuse is handled in the Catholic church.
Michael Norris, the Houston president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP, said he too was abused by a Catholic Priest decades ago. He criticized the Church for the way it has handled reports of sexual abuse in the past. Instead, Norris' advice to other potential victims is to contact law enforcement agencies.
"What they're going to do is try to cloak it in secrecy, try to cover it up, and try to keep you from going to the police," said Norris. "So please do not do that. Go to the police, or if you're young, talk to your parents."
The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office said it is looking into these allegations against Father La Rosa-Lopez and said anyone who believes they've been a victim of sexual abuse should contact law enforcement.
In a statement, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said Father La Rosa-Lopez was removed from the parish and rectory when the recent allegations were made and is not returning there.
The Archdiocese said "JH" was flown to Houston from Oregon to meet with the Victims' Assistance Coordinator on Aug. 10. It said a report was filed with CPS three days later and provided FOX 26 News with a case number.