Roundtable meeting speculates list of abusers to be released by archdiocese

HOUSTON (FOX 26) — There are several sexual abuse cover-up allegations in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston that advocates don't want you to forget about. They are hoping the names of all accused abusers will be released, not just the ones the archdiocese finds credible.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest, known as SNAP, hosted a meeting in the Montrose district and invited the public to attend, mainly victims of abuse in the Catholic Church. The advocates want to break down what they call a shroud of secrecy in the Church when is comes to allegations of sexual abuse.

Michael Norris, the leader of SNAP in Houston, says he is not trying to attack Catholics or their religion.

"It has nothing to do with the faith, it has nothing to do with the sacraments, none of that," explains Norris. "It has everything to do with the raping of our children and then covering it up.“

The Catholic Church has been under fire for years with accusations of covering up sexual abuse. The Church was under the microscope in the Houston area when Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez of Conroe was arrested and charged with four counts of indecency with a child in late 2018.

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston says it plans on releasing a list of abusers, but SNAP has a problem with the diocese conducting its own investigation.

"They say it’s an independent auditor," adds Norris. "Who is that? What are his credentials? What constituted giving those files to that investigator? How did they determine which files to share with this investigator? If they want to be transparent, be transparent, because they’re not being transparent. That’s the issue.“

"We can’t rely on the church to investigate itself, and when they say, 'Well, it’s not credible' or whatever, that to me is not sufficient," says Tim Lennon, the president of SNAP. "We need the intervention of a civil society to ensure the safety of our community.”

SNAP wants the Texas Attorney General to be involved in the investigation since it claims other archdioceses in the U.S., like the one in Buffalo, N.Y., were underreporting abusers. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston currently has 22 abusers named.

Siobhan Fleming, a researcher and policy analyst has been looking into this issue for years. She believes the number of people accused in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston should be more than 300.

“I think they will have some new claims, maybe they will hang some people out to dry that kind of dropped off the radar," says Fleming. "They will not be complete. Will probably have some surprises.“

FOX 26 News reached out to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston which said that they are still on schedule to release that list. We should be able to see it by the end of this month.