Pinoy priest in Texas disappears amid molestation, theft charges
DALLAS, TEXAS—A Philippine-born priest in Texas who is accused of molesting teens and stealing from his parish has gone missing.
St. Cecilia Catholic Church officials believe the Rev. Edmundo Paredes may have fled to his native country of the Philippines, according to The Dallas Morning news report.
Paredes had been a pastor at St. Cecilia for 27 years.
Dallas police have found the sexual abuse allegations to be credible, Bishop Edward Burns said at a news conference on Aug. 19.
Burns told the media that Paredes was no longer allowed to function or present himself as a priest.
The Church first began investigating Paredes in May 2017 over allegations he stole $60,000 to $80,000 in cash from the parish.
Paredes admitted to the financial misconduct and was suspended from the ministry and removed from the parish in June 2017, Burns said.
The Diocese of Dallas wasn’t aware of the sexual assault allegations at the time of the suspension, according to a spokesperson for the diocese.
St. Cecilia officials then received allegations in February that Paredes molested three teenage boys more than a decade ago.
Private investigators hired
Burns disclosed the allegations to parishioners on Sunday after consulting with the Diocesan Review Board, a group of nonclergy Catholics who counsel the diocese on matters involving the sexual abuse of minors.
The information wasn’t disclosed earlier because officials didn’t want to hinder the police investigation or compromise the victims’ identities, according to the spokesperson for the diocese.
The information follows a recent grand jury report from Pennsylvania that said more than 1,000 had been abused by the clergy since the 1940s.
The Catholic Church is hiring private investigators to find Paredes, Burns said. —AP
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