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Timeline: The investigation into the Catholic Diocese of Dallas sex abuse scandal

WFAA-TV Dallas-Ft. Worth logo WFAA-TV Dallas-Ft. Worth 5/16/2019 Marjorie Owens

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Here's how the investigation into the Catholic Diocese Dallas sex abuse scandal unfolded according to police search warrants released Wednesday.

2017

MID-2017: EDMUNDO PAREDES LEAVES THE ST. CECILIA CHURCH

Edmundo Paredes, a longtime pastor at the St. Cecilia Church in north Oak Cliff, leaves the church.

Later that year in June, Paredes is quietly suspended over theft accusations. At this time, there's no mention of sexual assault allegations.

Besides St. Cecilia in Dallas, he was also assigned to the Blessed Sacrament in Dallas.

a close up of a man: Father Edmundo Paredes, © WFAA Father Edmundo Paredes,

2018

FEB. 28, 2018: DALLAS CATHOLIC DIOCESE REPORTS ALLEGATIONS AGAINST PAREDES TO POLICE

Mary Edlund, then chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, contacts the Child Exploitation Unit of the Dallas Police Department to report sexual abuse allegations made against Paredes.

Edlund tells investigators Paredes has been accused of sexual abuse by three adults, who said the assaults took place 10 years earlier when they were in their mid-teens. She says the abuse took place "over a period of years." 

AUG. 19, 2018: THE DALLAS CATHOLIC DIOCESE PUBLICALLY ACKNOWLEDGES PAREDES' SUSPENSION

Bishop Edward Burns announces Paredes' suspension over accusations of sexual abuse and theft to parishioners at the St. Cecilia Catholic Church. The announcement comes after Paredes seemingly vanishes, with Burns saying he suspects he may have traveled back to the Philippines, where he was born. 

AUG. 22, 2018: NEW ALLEGATIONS AGAINST PAREDES

The Dallas Catholic Diocese reports to police a new allegation of sexual assault against Paredes. An altar server at the time, the victim said he was abused by Paredes between 1994 to 1999. In the search warrant affidavit, Det. David Clark said during his investigation, several parishioners, staff members, and priests told him there were longtime concerns that children were visiting Paredes' home and office during the nights and weekends. Clark was told parishioners met with Edlund and voiced those concerns as far back as 2006.

OCT. 25, 2018: DALLAS POLICE LOOK INTO RICHARD THOMAS BROWN

Det. Clark says he's contacted by Barbara Landregan, director of The Office of Safe Environment of the Diocese. Landregan tells Clark she received an email from a woman who claimed her niece was sexually abused by Richard Thomas Brown during the '80s. 

Brown served the church for 22 years before leaving in 2002. Brown was a chaplain in the Dallas hospice ministry. He also served at the Holy Family of Nazareth in Irving, Texas; Our Lady of the Lake in Rockwall, Texas; St. Mark the Evangelist in Plano, Texas and St. Philip and St. Thomas Aquinas - both in Dallas.

Clark said he contacted the victim, who told him she was assaulted for several months when she attended the Holy Family Catholic Church in Irving, Texas with her aunt. 

She reported the abuse in 2004 to the Dallas diocese. However, Clark said the allegation wasn't noted in Brown's file, which he reported to the diocese's attorney. Three weeks later, Clark said, he received 51 more pages from Brown's file, with a few pages documenting the allegation. 

Clark said he also learned from the documents that Brown admitted to assaulting two children during the '80s after befriending the victims' families. The first assault happened in 1980 at Brown's Washington, D.C. apartment, and the other in 1987 at the second victim's family home in Irving, Texas. 

The first victim reported the assault to the diocese in 1994, more than a decade later. 

The second victim reported the assault in 1984, a few weeks after the abuse, to her brother, who told their mother. While police were called, the mother didn't want to pursue a criminal case but asked that Brown leave the Holy Family of Nazareth in Irving. Brown was then moved to the St. Phillip the Apostle in Pleasant Grove, Texas.

Clark said he wasn't able to identify the second victim because the name wasn't listed in the diocese files. When asked about the victim's identity, told Clark "all relevant information was in the file."

The detective said he also learned from Brown's files that in 1994 he admitted to a therapist that he would become sexually aroused when young girls would sit on his lap. The therapist said he believed Brown was a pedophile, the files said. 

Two years after his therapy, Brown befriended a family. From 1996 to 2001, Brown would make visits to the family at their Illinois home, Clark said files revealed. The Illinois parents accused Brown of touching the breast of one of their daughters. The files alleged that when the family confronted Brown, he admitted to assaulting up to 50 children between 1980 and 1984. 

Clark said he was never able to identify the Illinois family. 

OCT. 30, 2018: DALLAS POLICE LOOK INTO JEREMY MYERS

Five days after Landregan contacts Clark about Brown, she reports an additional allegation - this one made against Myers, who served as a priest in Sherman, Texas at the St. Mary's Parish for more than 20 years. 

Clark contacts the diocese lawyers with the name of the victim and asks to see Myers' file.Myers spent 34 years in the Catholic Church until he was removed in 2018.

He served as a priest at Good Shepherd in Garland, Texas; St. Mary's in Sherman, Texas; St. Thomas Aquinas in Dallas and St. Francis of Assisi Quasi in Whitesboro, Texas.

DEC. 10, 2018: DIOCESE HANDS OVER MYERS FILES

DEC. 17, 2018: CLARK INTERVIEWS MYERS VICTIM

Clark travels to Arkansas to interview the alleged victim in the Myers case. The victim tells the detective he was first touched by Myers in 1986 when he was a freshman at Subiaco Catholic School in Arkansas. At the time, Myers was a dean of the victim's dorm. The victim was kicked out of the school his sophomore year and his parents contacted Myers, who had moved to Dallas. The victim said he visited Myers and then moved in with the priest at his Dallas home. During his stay, the victim said he was continuously sexually abused by Myers. He eventually moved back home with his parents.

The victim gave Clark the name of an alleged witness, who the detective also interviewed. The witness said in 1986 he reported to the then abbot of the school after he saw the victim sitting in Myers' lap. 

Leonard Wangler, who was a headmaster at the school in 1986, was asked by the abbot to investigate the accusation. 

Wangler said he talked with Myers, who said he would talk with the victim personally. Myers later told Wangler that the victim said the accusations were a lie.

"I said to Abbot Wangler he basically had Myers investigate his own sexual allegation claim, to which Abbot Wangler had no response," Clark wrote in an affidavit.

Wangler is now the abbot at Subiaco Catholic School.

Clark says while there were no other notes on the Subiaco Catholic School victim in the diocese file on Myers, there were notes on another alleged victim who reported abuse to the Dallas diocese in a letter written by a law firm and addressed to Edlund. 

2019

JAN. 15, 2019: PAREDES CHARGED

An arrest warrant is issued for Paredes on a charge of sexual abuse of a child.

RELATED: Arrest warrant issued for Dallas priest accused of sexual abuse

JAN. 16, 2019: THE DALLAS DIOCESE TALKS WITH CLARK ABOUT SEXUAL ABUSE CLAIMS AGAINST WILLIAM JOSEPH HUGHES, JR. AND NAMES A VICTIM OF ALEJANDRO BUITRAGO 

Clark says he met with the Dallas diocese's attorney, who tells him a civil lawsuit was filed against William Joseph Hughes in 1994 over accusations he had sex with a minor during a six-month period in 1983. 

a group of people around each other: Dallas Diocese clergy accused of sex abuse © Provided by TEGNA Inc. Dallas Diocese clergy accused of sex abuse Hughes spent seven years in the church until 1989, when he asked to be laicized, which means having his clerical status removed by the Pope. He served at Holy Spirit in Duncanville, Texas; St. Luke in Irving, Texas and St. Patrick in Dallas.

According to their notes, Hughes admitted to the assaults and a suit was settled in 1998.

The detective said lawyers also gave him the name of a victim that accused Alejandro Buitrago of abuse in 2015. 

Buitrago spent 51 years in the Catholic Church until he was removed.

Besides St. Mark the Evangelist in Plano, Texas, his assignments included chaplain at Children's Hospital and at Parkland, St. Paul the Apostle in Richardson, St. Elizabeth of Hungary and Our Lady of San Juan De Los Lagos - both in Dallas.

RELATED: A Dallas diocese priest accused of abuse was celebrating Mass and hearing confessions in Duncanville last fall

JAN. 24, 2019: THE DALLAS DIOCESE HANDS OVER HUGHES' FILES

Listed as credibly accused by the diocese, Hughes' file is handed over to police. While Clark said the diocese said this was Hughes' whole file, the detective found another accusation on bishopaccountability.org not noted in the files that accused the priest of continuous sexual assault of a juvenile for more than a year. 

JAN. 30, 2019: CLARK ASKS FOR VICTIM'S NAME

In another meeting with diocese lawyers, Clark says he asks for the name of the victim in the lawsuit against Hughes in 1994. Clark said he was never given the name.

JAN. 31, 2019:  THE DALLAS CATHOLIC DIOCESE  RELEASES NAMES OF 31 PRIESTS CREDIBLY ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS

Dioceses across Texas – including Dallas – released names of 31 priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors over the last seven decades.

Among the 31 priests listed are Paredes, Brown, Buitrago, Hughes, Jr., and Myers.

All five of the priests were incardinated in the Diocese of Dallas. 

RELATED: Dallas Diocese releases 31 names of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse: Here are their names

RELATED: By the numbers: Where the 31 accused Dallas diocese priests were assigned

FEB. 3, 2019: CLARK SAYS HE RECEIVES THE DIOCESE'S FILE ON BUITRAGO

FEB. 19, 2019: CLARK TALKS WITH EDLUND, AGAIN

For the second time, Det. Clark talks with Edlund, who he said confirmed a meeting did take place in 2006 over concerns about children visiting Paredes during nights and weekends. Clark said Edlund told him the meeting was documented in diocese files on Paredes, however, the detective said those notes didn't exist in the files. 

Clark said when asked why she reported accusations against Paredes to police in 2018 since "that was not the procedure she followed in the past," Edlund told him the diocese was concerned the case would receive media attention "and it would look better to say they contacted police."

FEB. 20, 2019: CLARK TALKS WITH BUITRAGO VICTIM AND DALLAS POLICE REQUEST ALL CLAIMANT FILES 

Clark sys on this day he talked with a victim of Buitrago, who told him the priest befriended her family during his time at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Plano. 

At the time, the victim said, she was around 5 to 7 years old and that her parents were in the midst of a divorce. Buitrago, she told Clark, would kiss her on the mouth and he would move her body back and forth and his penis would become erect when she sat on his lap. 

Also on this date, Clark said, Dallas police requested all claimant files "regarding priests, clergy, bishops, nuns, teachers, deacons, or any current or former staff of the Dallas Catholic Diocese." 

MARCH 20, 2019: LAWYER FOR DIOCESE REPLIES TO DPD REQUEST FOR CLAIMANT FILES

Clark says the lawyer for the diocese replies to their request with this response: 

"'Claimant files' contain many complaints that are irrelevant to the Dallas Police Department and that the Diocese has already provided DPD with a number of those files which allege abuse by current and former priests who are still living in fact we have provided DPD with all of the claimant files related to living, current, and former priests."

MAY 6, 2019: BROWN ALLEGEDLY CONFESSES TO CLARK

Clark says he interviewed Brown at his home in Pecos, New Mexico home, where the former priest confirmed he confessed to abusing children to the family in Illinois. Brown identified one of his victims during his time at the Irving church and told Clark the diocese was aware of the assault. Clark said Brown also identified another victim from his time at the St. Mark the Evangelist in Plano, where he was a priest from 1989 to 1993. The detective said Brown admitted there was another victim whose name he forgot and that he prayed for that victim. While Brown admitted he touched the breast of the Illinois girl, he said that was accidental. 

MAY 15, 2019: DALLAS POLICE EXECUTE SEARCH WARRANTS

Dallas police execute search warrants for the Dallas Catholic Diocese, Saint Cecilia Parish offices and Safesit Inc. In the warrant, police said they're searching for evidence linked to Paredes, 70; Brown, 77; Buitrago, 77; Hughes, Jr., 63; Myers, 62.

RELATED: Timeline: A history of priest sex abuse in the Catholic Church

RELATED: Verify: Is it rare for police to raid a Catholic diocese?

RELATED: Dallas Catholic church leaders concealed details of sexual abuse accusations, police say

RELATED: Police searching Catholic Diocese of Dallas in sex abuse scandal

WFAA's Charlotte Huffman contributed to this report

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