Dallas Police Department officers searched Catholic Diocese of Dallas properties across the city Wednesday as part of a continuing investigation into alleged abuse by Dallas priests.
According to DPD Maj. Max Geron, police searched diocese headquarters in Oak Lawn, St. Cecilia Catholic Church in North Oak Cliff and a storage facility belonging to the diocese looking for evidence relating to recent accusations made against diocese priests. Geron declined to name any of the five suspected priests or their accusers.
The accusations that led to Wednesday's searches came in the aftermath of a 2018 scandal at St. Cecilia's. Diocese officials removed Edmundo Paredes, a pastor at the church for nearly two decades, after he admitted stealing church funds in June 2017. After being removed from his post but before the sexual abuse allegations surfaced, Paredes disappeared, possibly returning to his birthplace in the Philippines, according to church officials.
The diocese also released a list of what it called "credibly accused" priests in January. Geron said that DPD has met with the diocese repeatedly in the aftermath of the list's release but still felt that it needed to get a warrant to search for more evidence.
"We've had a number of meetings with (the diocese) — characterizing that in varying degrees of cooperation, you could do that — but again, we believe that the execution of the warrants was wholly appropriate," Geron said.
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The diocese stressed its cooperation in a statement issued after the searches.
"The diocese has been cooperating with the ongoing investigation of these priests even before the list was made public, has given police the personnel files for all of the priests named in the warrant and has been involved in ongoing discussions with DPD investigators,” it said.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests praised DPD for its investigative efforts.
"We hope that this raid today sheds more light on the clergy abuse scandal as it relates to the Diocese of Dallas and will uncover the full truth of who knew what, when they knew it and what steps church officials took in response to allegations of sexual abuse," the group said.