Authorities: Cardinal DiNardo’s computers were seized in search
A preliminary log of what was seized during the search at the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, included at least three of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo’s computers, but was mistakenly made public Friday, according to Montgomery County officials.
The document shows investigators on Wednesday took multiple files on accused priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez and several other clergy members, including Alberto Maullon, who is a judge on the Diocese Tribunal, and who pleaded guilty to indecent exposure charges related to an adult bookstore sting in 2010. Documents on Terence Brinkman, who was sued in 2010 for allegedly molesting a boy in the 1970s and still serves as a pastor at St. John the Evangelist in Baytown, were also seized by investigators.
Authorities who executed a sweeping search warrant for one of the largest dioceses in the nation also sought records related to La Rosa-Lopez’s counseling at the Shalom Center in Splendora, the target of a prior search warrant. Investigators were also looking for a diary that he was required to keep while working as a priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe and St. John Fisher Church in Richmond, both of which were searched.
It was not clear from the document if investigators located the diary inside the archdiocese.
Efforts to reach the archdiocese Friday evening were unsuccessful, but Archdiocese spokesman Jonah Dycus in a statement on Wednesday acknowledged the search warrant and the ongoing investigation.
“The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston continues to cooperate, as we have since the outset, with this process,” according to the statement. “In fact, consistent with Cardinal DiNardo’s pledge of full cooperation, the information being sought was already being compiled.”
Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Tyler Dunman on Friday verified the handwritten document but, even though he said it’s now in the public record, he cautioned that it is not the final inventory of what was taken from the church headquarters on San Jacinto Street.
The record included the location of where evidence was found and which investigator seized it, which Dunman said would have never been included in the formal version. An official log of evidence in search warrants can take days, if not weeks to compile.
Some of the computers of DiNardo, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, were taken from the third floor out of what was described as a “vault.” A computer used by DiNardo’s predecessor, former Bishop Joseph Fiorenza, was also taken from the downtown Houston office of the archdiocese.
Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said Wednesday that members of Texas Rangers joined their search and they would take control of evidence of additional victims and accused priests believed to be outside his jurisdiction. At least two boxes labeled in the inventory as “sexual allegation files” were seized in the search, the document states.
Fiorenza led the then-diocese in 2002 as the Boston Globe reported on the depth of the priest sex abuse scandal. Two years later, he revealed the diocese had found 22 priests and four deacons to be credibly accused of child sex abuse dating back several decades while participating in the John Jay Report, a survey commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The tally only accounted for allegations deemed credible after internal investigations.
The Chronicle found nearly 20 clergy members publicly accused of child abuse in news accounts and court records, suggesting that additional cases of credible accusations were never made public. La Rosa-Lopez has been charged with four counts of indecency with a child for incidents that began in 1998 and spanned three years.
massarah mikati contributed to this firstname.lastname@example.org