Critic Says Local Catholic Archdiocese Waited Too Long to Report Abuse

A support group for people abused by priests is blasting the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, criticizing a two-month delay between when local church officials learned of alleged sexual abuse and when they announced it. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

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The case involves the Reverend Stephen Horn, a priest who spent more than three decades in the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese before he was removed in November. The announcement of what church officials called "credible evidence" that Horn sexually abused a young boy between 1989 and 1993 didn't come until this past weekend. David Clohessy is the national director of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests and says the delay in announcing the alleged abuse is inexcusable.

"I'm a parent of two boys, 11 and 14. They know that when they suspect a crime has been committed, they should call 9-1-1. Any reasonable adult knows that when we suspect a crime has happened, we call the police immediately, and yet the Cardinal chose not to do that."

Clohessy is referring to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who leads the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese. He was the one who made the announcement of the alleged abuse on Sunday and announced the case had been forwarded to law enforcement authorities, although there's a good chance the statute of limitations has expired in the case. Clohessy says local church officials, including Cardinal DiNardo, should answer some important questions.

"The Cardinal owes it to Houston Catholics and Houston citizens to act responsibly and to call 9-1-1 the minute a sex-abuse allegation is made. We challenge the Cardinal to come out from behind his desk and leave aside his defense lawyer and his PR person and apologize to and explain to Houston Catholics why he simply didn't make that important phone call."ξξ

In a written statement, the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese says it followed appropriate policies and procedures in the case. Officials say they continue to pray for the alleged victim, his family and Father Horn.ξξ

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