CONROE, Texas - A $20 million federal lawsuit filed Monday against the Vatican, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, alleging a systemic cover-up of multiple cases of child sex abuse under their watch.
The lawsuit outlines the long history of alleged sex abuse of both children and adults by Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, tracing back to the early 1990s.
The lawsuit claims that if the Archdiocese and its leaders had not been negligent, the abuse could've been prevented.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jane Doe and John Doe. Court documents say both were children in Montgomery County when they claim they were molested and sexually abused by their Reverend, Manuel Antonio La Rosa-Lopez of Sacred Heart Church in Conroe.
Lopez was arrested in September of 2018 and charged with four counts of indecency with a child.
Court documents say the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston failed to report multiple cases of Lopez's alleged sexual misconduct to Child Protective Services or law enforcement as required by law.
Instead, the lawsuit outlines how officials with the Archdiocese kept with Vatican protocols and kept Lopez's alleged history of molesting children a secret.
Documents also claim the Archdiocese and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo were negligent in endorsing Lopez to a position of trust and authority as a counselor to minors.
The lawsuit claims they "knew or should have known Lopez was sexually dangerous to minors and grossly unsuited for such assignments."The lawsuit also said Lopez was assigned to seek psychological treatment on at least two occasions but was later returned to ministry.
Court documents say other parishioners were never informed of Lopez's potential danger to children.
In a statement, the Archdioceses of Galveston-Houston said, "The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston just learned of the lawsuit late this afternoon from the media. We take these allegations very seriously and continue to pray for all victims of sexual abuse. We are unable to comment any further at this time."