A Texas Roman Catholic Priest Is Accused of Trafficking and Abusing Children

(NewsSpace.com) – Victims and advocates have long cried out about the abuse perpetrated in Catholic churches. Top officials have promised to overhaul the system and root out the bad eggs, but it’s an ongoing process. In Texas, authorities recently arrested a Catholic priest on suspicion of sexually abusing a minor.

The victim, who is now an adult but was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse, came forward to the church’s victim’s assistance coordinator. The coordinator then advised the person to report the incident to law enforcement.

In a statement on February 13, Bishop Daniel E. Flores issued a message to the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville. He outlined how he received a complaint on February 2, and the next day, he removed Gonzalez from active ministry per diocese policy. Additionally, Flores prohibited Gonzalez “from exercising any priestly ministry anywhere.”

The same day Flores issued the statement, authorities arrested Gonzalez on suspicion of trafficking persons, continuous sexual abuse of a young child, and allowing a child to engage in a sexual act. He was ordered held on $600,000 bail, and there are other conditions he would have to abide by in order to secure release. Gonzalez would have to wear a GPS tracker, be prohibited from leaving the community, and surrender his passport.

According to the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Gonzalez’s arrest is the fourth of its kind this year on similar accusations. SNAP is a clergy molestation victims’ support group, the largest in the country. In a statement after the arrest, the group outlined the issues that remain within the church, including that clergy abuse “is neither over nor a thing of the past.” It’s calling for a “complete overhaul of how the Church handles” sexual abuse because the current policies and internal controls in place seemingly aren’t enough.

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