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Local Priest Who May Have Fathered Children Removed From Ministry, Two Sides To Houston’s Tech Jobs Landscape, And Ongoing Clean-Up At Deer Park Petrochemical Facility

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

Shannon Harrison/Houston Public Media
Local Priest Who May Have Fathered Children Removed From Ministry

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has removed a priest who served in multiple local parishes from active ministry. Father Jesus Suarez is accused of sexual misconduct with a minor while living in Colombia. A statement from the archdiocese said the abuse may have resulted in the birth of children.

The archdiocese said in the statement the abuse allegedly occurred in Colombia, before Suarez came to the United States in 1994. According to the statement, the archdiocese was just recently made aware of this allegation and it has received no other allegations of sexual abuse of minors against him.

Most recently, Suarez was serving as pastor of St. Philip of Jesus Catholic Church in Houston. Previously, among other parishes, he served at Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Conroe as parochial vicar.

Suarez is the second priest associated with Sacred Heart in Conroe to be accused of sexual abuse. Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, who previously worked at Sacred Heart, was charged in 2018 with four counts of indecency with a child and has an upcoming trial in Montgomery County.

Courtesy of Rice University
Houston is developing an innovation hub, called "Ion," on the site of the former Midtown Sears building.

Two Sides To Houston’s Tech Jobs Landscape

A new report by tech trade association CompTIA says Houston is losing tech jobs, even as the city has been working hard to improve its standing as a tech innovation hub.

From 2017 to 2018, Greater Houston lost about 2,300 tech jobs — more than any other metro area analyzed. But these numbers don't tell the whole story, said Gaby Rowe, president and CEO of the startup support organization Station Houston. Many oil and gas companies are no longer labeling some jobs as "tech" jobs, she said. They are now simply part of operations.

A better indicator is the number of tech job postings in Houston, she said, which went up by 140 percent last year, "and that sounds a lot more like what we're seeing."

In total, there were more than 62,000 tech job postings last year.

Google Maps
One of the entrances to ITC facility located in Deer Park.

Ongoing Clean-Up At Deer Park Petrochemical Facility

The clean-up process continued Monday at the Deer Park petrochemical storage facility that caught fire on March 17. Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) owns the facility.

ITC Executive Brent Weber said at a news conference held on Monday morning that the tank farm is secured. "The level on the tank farm is basically dry now with a very light layer of foam," he said.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has launched a new section of its website with information, including sampling locations, maps and photos, about the incident.

U.S. Coast Guard Captain Rich Howes there isn't a "firm timeline" on full reopening of the Houston Ship Channel. The section of the channel with restricted traffic goes from Tucker Bayou to Light 116, and only operates during daylight hours.

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