HOUSTON – A Houston-area Roman Catholic priest pleaded responsible on Tuesday to indecency with a toddler associated to molestations that happened at his church greater than 20 years in the past.
Manuel La Rosa-Lopez had been dealing with 5 costs of indecency with a toddler. However as a part of an settlement with the Montgomery County District Lawyer’s Workplace, La Rosa-Lopez agreed to plead responsible to 2 of the counts in alternate for a 10-year sentence, stated Nancy Hebert, one of many prosecutors within the case.
The three different counts, some which relate to a 3rd sufferer, had been dropped as a part of the settlement. La Rosa-Lopez had been set to go to trial in January. If he had been convicted by a jury, he may have been sentenced to as much as 20 years.
The 2 counts La Rosa-Lopez pleaded responsible to come up from allegations made in opposition to him whereas he was a priest at Sacred Coronary heart Catholic Church in Conroe, situated simply north of Houston.
In a single case, La Rosa-Lopez in April 2000 introduced a teenage lady to his workplace after confession, kissed her after which groped her days later, in keeping with authorities. Within the different case, a teenage boy instructed authorities La Rosa-Lopez tried to take the boy’s garments off and put his arms down the sufferer’s pants in 1999.
“A unsuitable was dedicated, and it needed to be made proper,” stated Montgomery County District Lawyer Brett Ligon. “We hope that with time the injuries this man so selfishly created will heal and that even the scars will fade. (La-Rosa Lopez) despised all the pieces we maintain expensive. He can now think about all of the hurt he’s brought about from a jail cell.”
La Rosa-Lopez, who’s free on bond, shall be formally sentenced throughout a courtroom listening to on Dec. 16.
La Rosa-Lopez’s lawyer, Wendell Odom, stated it wasn’t any straightforward resolution for his consumer to make, “however after a lot session, he determined to plead responsible.”
“That is unlucky. It occurred a few years in the past and he’s simply blissful to have closure and get this over with,” Odom stated.
The 62-year-old La Rosa-Lopez was the pastor at St. John Fisher Catholic Church within the Houston suburb of Richmond when he was arrested in 2018. He’s not a pastor and has been faraway from ministry, however he stays a priest.
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston declined to remark Tuesday on La Rosa-Lopez’s responsible plea or whether or not he’ll stay a priest.
Following La Rosa-Lopez’s arrest, a 3rd individual got here ahead to authorities to accuse him of sexually touching him when he was a teen.
All three people who accused La Rosa-Lopez have stated that that they had mentioned their instances with church officers however felt their accusations weren’t taken severely.
Hebert stated the plea settlement “brings decision to this case that’s taken the victims 20 years to get right here.”
Observe Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70
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