3 women settle lawsuit against Austin Catholic priest accused of abuse

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A lawsuit three women brought against a local Catholic organization and former priest has been settled, according to an attorney for the case’s plaintiffs.

“I can confirm that our important lawsuit and claims by these brave, wonderful women against the Schoenstatt Order and its priest were mediated and successfully resolved,” wrote attorney Sean Breen in a statement. “I am so proud of and happy for each one of these women, that their voice was heard and so grateful for our system of justice and the right to a jury trial.”

In July, the women sued over allegations of sexual assault and false imprisonment, and claimed the Schoenstatt Movement of Austin engaged in “institutionalized negligence.” They also sued Gerold Langsch, a former priest at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in south Austin. All three were parishioners there.

Langsch was accused of inappropriately touching one of the plaintiffs when she was in hospice care in 2018. According to court documents, he had gone to her to administer her last rites. Langsch accepted a plea deal in that case in June 2019, in which he pleaded “no contest” and was sentenced to 300 days probation and fined $1,000.

The other plaintiffs also accused Langsch of abuse. One woman accused Langsch of propositioning her for money. Another said he reached under her shirt without her consent.

A spokesperson with the Diocese of Austin said at the time of Langsch’s arrest that he became pastor of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Nov. 2015. The website of the Knights of Columbus chapter associated with the church listed Langsch as a chaplain with the group in 2017-2018. Langsch was ordained as a priest in 1972 for the Schoenstatt Movement in Germany.

Breen did not specify the terms of the settlement.

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