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5 things for Houstonians to know for Tuesday, July 20

117 employees file lawsuit against Houston Methodist for mandating workers to take COVID-19 vaccine; deadline is June 7
117 employees file lawsuit against Houston Methodist for mandating workers to take COVID-19 vaccine; deadline is June 7

Here are things to know for Tuesday, July 20:

1. $10M lawsuit filed against Vatican, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston after priest accused of child sexual abuse

A $10 million lawsuit has been filed against Holy See and the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and its Cardinal, Daniel N. DiNardo, on behalf of the parents of a child they say was sexually abused by Rev. Phi Thanh Nguyen in November 2018, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that Nguyen sexually abused the child when she was 10 years old while attending the Nazareth Academy in Victoria, Texas.

The lawsuit names Holy See because “Nguyen would not have been able to ingratiate himself at Nazareth Academy,” according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also accuses the Vatican of having a history of burying the criminal behavior of Nguyen and others like him. Houston attorney Felecia Y. Peavy, who is representing the family, stated that the Vatican’s policies protected Nguyen and kept him employed.

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2. Houston mom files lawsuit against Splashtown following chemical leak

A Houston mother of three who says her children were injured in Saturday’s chemical spill at Hurricane Harbor Splashtown has filed a lawsuit against the park’s operators.

The lawsuit alleges that a concentrated and highly corrosive mixture of hypochlorite and sulfuric acid was released into a children’s pool area at Hurricane Harbor Splashtown in Spring.

Amanda Regulus said in the lawsuit that her three daughters, all under the age of 13, immediately felt the presence of toxic chemicals in the air. Shortly after, Regulus said her children began developing headaches, skin irritations, and sore throats.

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3. Houston Methodist sees ‘alarming spike’ in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations; identifies its first case of Lambda variant

Houston Methodist Hospital says it is seeing an “alarming spike” in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the Houston area.

According to the hospital, staff reported the steepest increase of cases over the weekend, adding stress to many of its hospitals that are nearing capacity.

Officials with Houston Methodist said it had a little over 100 COVID-19 patients across its hospital system, but as of Monday, it has more than 185 COVID-19 patients. According to officials, the majority of its hospitalizations are those who are unvaccinated. About 85% of its hospitalized COVID-19 patients have the Delta variant, officials said.

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4. Texas Supreme Court extends state program to help tenants avoid eviction until Oct. 1

A state eviction diversion program launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended, according to a new emergency order from the Texas Supreme Court released on Monday.

The diversion program was set to expire on July 27. The new order extends it until Oct. 1.

In September, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the creation of the Texas Eviction Diversion Program and said the state would use $171 million in federal CARES Act funding for rental assistance and legal services for Texans facing eviction. The program originally included 19 counties before expanding statewide in February.

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5. City of Houston ordered to immediately give HPFFA President Patrick Lancton his job back

The city of Houston has been ordered to immediately give Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association President Patrick M. “Marty” Lancton his job back after an independent arbitrator ruled in his favor on Monday.

Hearing examiner Ruben R. Armendariz said the city had no cause to indefinitely suspend Lancton last January and to reinstate his position as president of HPFFA with full back pay and any other benefits to which he is entitled.

“The truth will always come out,” Lancton said. “My firing was nothing more than retaliation for my criticism of Mayor Sylvester Turner and his mishandling of our labor contract. The hearing examiner saw right through the city’s manufactured case against me. I am grateful for the ruling and the opportunity to restore my standing as a city of Houston employee.”

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