Roundtable discussion: How to handle Catholic Church sex abuse scandal

By Sophia Beausoleil - Reporter

HOUSTON - A roundtable discussion was held Thursday in Montrose about the sexual abuse scandal swirling around the Catholic Church.

More than 30 survivors and supporters from Houston, Dallas and San Antonio attended the meeting at Freed-Montrose Library.

The discussion came exactly one week before the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is expected to release a list of priests accused of sexual abuse.

One of the people in the room spoke up at the end of the meeting, during the question and answer time, stating they were one of the people allegedly abused by Rev. Manuel La Rosa-Lopez. The person stated that years ago the priest tearfully apologized in a room with other top leaders of the archdiocese.

A victims' advocacy group hosted the discussion.

The leader of the group, Michael Norris, said members question if the archdiocese will be fully transparent. They also want to know what church officials' definition of credibility is.

He doesn’t trust the church can investigate itself and wants state Attorney General Ken Paxton to do a separate investigation.

Authorities arrested La Rosa-Lopez last September after investigators said a man and woman accused him of abuse when he was at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe in the late 1990s to early 2000s.

Later, authorities executed a search at the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in connection with the case.

After the sexual abuse accusations against La Rosa-Lopez and other priests started to come to light, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston announced it was compiling a list and would make it public.

On Thursday afternoon, KPRC2 spoke with Norris, who is the leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

Norris is a survivor and was sexually abused by a priest in Kentucky when he was 10 years old.

Norris said he questions the criteria the church plans to use when determining which accusations are credible and which ones are not.

"What this is about, this is about the survivors. The survivors want to see the name of their perpetrator on these lists. That's when the healing beings," Norris said. "And you know what survivors look for is to basically be heard and be believed, and that's part of the healing process, and the church needs to come forward and come clean."

Norris said he's skeptical there will be a full list.

Late last year, KPRC2's Bill Balleza sat down with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo for an exclusive interview. Watch that conversation in the video below:

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