DALLAS (AP) — The Roman Catholic bishop of the Dallas diocese has challenged the accuracy of a Dallas police affidavit’s allegations that the diocese had “thwarted” its investigation of past sexual misconduct by priests.
Police used the affidavit to authorize Monday raids on diocesan headquarters, a storage unit it uses and a church office. In the affidavit, police Detective David Clark described a diocese that wasn’t forthcoming with critical files and relied on personnel to identify predatory behavior when they had no background or training to do so.
In his lengthy statement Friday, Bishop Edward J. Burns said the diocese had turned over all of the files it had on the priests and their cases.
“The fundamental premise of the affidavit is that because a piece of information discovered in an entirely independent police investigation is not in the diocese’s files, the diocese must have hidden or concealed that information and is continuing to hide or conceal that information, so that it warrants a raid of religious offices,” Burns said in his statement. “… But in reality, the diocese cannot turn over what it does not have.”
Burns said the affidavit had revealed no abusers that hadn’t already been revealed to the diocese, and he defended the expertise of personnel chosen by the diocese to identify predatory behavior.
“It is truly disheartening to see that despite our many efforts, spending countless hours trying to address this issue, that the police, whom we need most in helping us to combat abuse, write this document and participate in this search,” Burns said, calling the raid a “sensational action.”
“This was supposed to be a cooperative process, not an adversarial one, but the abrupt cutting off of this process through this raid was a direct affront to this necessary notion of cooperation,” he said.
A Dallas police spokesman says the department has nothing more to say on the matter.