Dallas police raided St. Cecilia Catholic Church, several Dallas Catholic Diocese offices and a storage unit Wednesday morning as part of its investigation into decades of sexual abuse of children at the hands of priests.
The investigation started with Edmundo Paredes, who was a priest at St. Cecilia for 27 years until he retired in 2017. Paredes previously served at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Oak Cliff. He was caught embezzling as much as $80,000 from St. Cecilia, but the diocese didn’t initially tell parishioners about the theft, instead throwing him a retirement party in September 2017.
After that, it came to light that Paredes was accused of sexually abusing teenage boys who were church members and students of St. Cecilia Catholic School in the 1990s. But by that time, the Philippines native had disappeared. He is wanted by the Dallas Police Department.
That whole drama is part of what inspired the diocese to release a list naming 31 priests who have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of children since 1950. Some of them are dead, and some are retired.
The Dallas Police Department says the diocese has not given them all of the files on the accused priests. They say known allegations of abuse are missing from personnel files and that the diocese has refused to hand over files as requested. The police obtained a 31-page search warrant that details sexual crimes and details what they are looking for.
Bishop Edward Burns stated during a press conference that the diocese is cooperating with police and that he believes the church has been transparent.
“This is an opportunity for us,” to offer further transparency, he said. “There are people who are suspicious of the church.”
“I know that what we’re doing now is right and just and transparent,” he said.
Here is the police press conference from this morning:
And here is Burns’ press conference from this afternoon.