Catholic Church sex abuse victim helping survivors in Houston

By Sofia Ojeda - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - KPRC2 has obtained chilling sound of Catholic priest John T. Keller addressing parishioners in September, months before he was accused of sexual abuse.

"If you are one of those who is reading or discussing or making comments, to make a commitment to spend as much time in prayer as keeping up with all the darkness," Keller said.

Keller is a priest who is credibly accused of sexual abuse, according to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Keller is still with his church, and on the church's website, but is currently on administrative leave pending the investigation.

The recording is of Keller addressing parishioners at Prince of Peace Parish on Sept. 2, 2018.

"To remember anything can be reported or analyzed by those who have a keyboard or who has an iPhone the temptation is to spend more and more time focused on the darkness," Keller said.

Miguel Prats said the Catholic Church has done a lot for victims, but it can still do so much more.

Prats, who was abused by a Catholic priest when he was a teenager, listened to the homily and said the church has known about Keller for years.

"I've known about Keller for the past 15 years or so. How long has that been going on for now? The accusations have been out there but nothing was done about it, until now," Prats said.

Prats spoke to KPRC2 on Monday about what the church is doing to protect victims.

"Just being touched and groped inappropriately, I have the same reactions as those who were raped. I lost my faith. I lost my anchor. I lost my way," Prats said.

Prats is a practicing Catholic and has lived in Houston all his life. He said he was abused by a Catholic priest as a teenager when he visited St. Louis, Missouri. He said the Catholic Church knew about the abuse for 22 years and did nothing.

"The church thinks they have apologized, but they need to apologize more and they need to give people a resource to turn to," Prats said.

Prats is the original founder of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests in Houston.

He went on to create the Maria Goretti Network, another organization helping victims deal with abuse. The network operates within the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

He urges all victims to come forward.

"If you've been abused, you need to come forward. Tell someone. When victims come forward, children and vulnerable adults are protected," Prats said.

Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston released the following statement:

“The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has concern for those persons who were sexually abused and in need of healing and transparency. To offer assistance, victims or their families are first urged to call Child Protective Services at 1-800-252-5400 and local law enforcement. They can also reach out to the Victims Assistance Coordinator of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston with a confidential hotline and voicemail at  713-654-5799 or email vac@archgh.org.”

The Montgomery County District Attorney sent this statement:

"Our office is aware of the list released by the Galveston-Houston Archdioceses last week. At this point, we  are not in a position to comment on the accuracy or information contained in the list released."

There is a hotline created by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston for victims of abuse to come forward. You can call the coordinator at 713-654-5799. The coordinator said she is independent from the church and all calls will remain confidential. Click here to visit the site.

Prats said you shouldn't go to the church to report abuse -- go to the police or contact Prats at the Maria Goretti network at 713-851-3708 or miguel@mgoretti.org.

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