As you may know, an arrest has been made of Richard Brown, a former priest in the Diocese who was named on the "List of Priests with Credible Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors Since 1950" released in January 2019. Bishop Burns has prepared this video out of concern for the faithful in the diocese and to keep you well informed.
As he has said in the past, Bishop Burns encourages all victims of sexual abuse to report allegations to law enforcement. We continue to pray for all victims of abuse and continue to work diligently in creating a safe environment.
My friends in Christ - I wanted to be in touch with you in light of the recent news of an arrest of a former priest of the diocese of Dallas. As you are aware, we have taken extraordinary steps in order to assure an outreach to victims and to assure that we do everything possible to create a safe environment within our church, our schools, and our parish programs. We will continue to be vigilant in doing this and we will continue to take necessary steps to do what is right.
Along those lines, and as you are aware, soon after my arrival I employed former FBI agents to look at all our files, to assure that all our priests in this diocese are fit and suitable to serve in ministry. While that process was going on, the bishops of Texas decided to collectively release names of those credibly accused of any sexual misconduct with minors dating back 70 years to 1950. It was a long and arduous process, and we committed ourselves to working with law-enforcement agencies and providing them with information regarding anything we found. To that end, in December 2018 we voluntarily gave files and documents to the Dallas Police Department on the priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors since 1950, including Richard Brown, and announced those names on January 31, 2019.
Based on the documents and files we voluntarily provided in December 2018, on January 29, 2020, the Dallas Police Department arrested Richard Brown, a former priest of the Diocese of Dallas
Richard Brown was removed from public ministry in the early 90s, and has been laicized. We are pleased that justice is being served.
In addition to reaching out to victims, our first response is to cooperate with law-enforcement agencies. In fact, in September 2019, the Chancellor of the diocese as well as our Victim Assistance Coordinator, wrote to the Dallas Police Department asking when Richard Brown would be taken into custody.
I’ve shared in the past that the church is like a vessel that needs to navigate through turbulent waters. We will stay the course in doing what is right and just, and we acknowledge that there will be waves that hit along the side of this vessel, the church.
As a body of believers, we know that when there is a purification of a wound, it stings. It is difficult to hear about our church in the news or to read about it in the papers - it stings, but it is a purification of the church. We will continue to work toward the healing that is necessary in order for us to be a vibrant body of believers alive in the faith and fervent in doing what’s right.
As your shepherd, I thought it was important that you would hear from me during these moments knowing that the Lord will guide these difficult days of purification and healing. We are glad that justice is being served, and it is important for you to remember, never separate yourself from Jesus because of Judas. Stay strong in the faith.
God bless you and your loved ones, and may God continue to bless the good work of the Diocese of Dallas.