Who are the local clergy members accused of sexually assaulting children?
Thursday, the Diocese of Austin released the names of 22 clergy members "credibly accused" of sexually assaulting children in the past 70 years.
According to Bishop Joe Vasquez, the list is the result of a months-long independent investigation.
Criteria for "credible accusations" included:
- The allegation involved abuse.
- The alleged abuse constituted sexual abuse.
- The alleged victim was under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged abuse.
- The alleged perpetrator was a priest, deacon, religious brother, or religious sister either at the time of the alleged abuse or sometime after the alleged abuse.
- The alleged abuse is claimed to have been committed (a) within the geographic jurisdiction of the diocese, or (b) by a priest or deacon of the Diocese of Austin, or a seminarian or lay person affiliated with the Diocese of Austin who was later ordained.
- After review of the reasonably available, relevant information, there remained reason to believe the allegation was true.
"It's different from proven and all of that all those legal terms so it's a different threshold all together," says Vasquez.
Of the 22 on the list, 12 have died, 9 are no longer affiliated with the church, and one has been ordained in Jamaica.
According to the Diocese, the Jamaica parish has been notified.
"We indeed communicated to them the information we had so the bishop there had the info to make a decision," says Vasquez.
Among the accused are Louis Wozniak, who has a building named after him at one local Catholic school, Jim Castro Garcia, who was dismissed from seminary in Austin in 2011, but was ordained in Jamaica in 2017 and Gerald Muller, who taught at St. Edwards University for three decades.
"I think that there's an obvious problem within the catholic institution," says one St. Edwards Univ. student who doesn't want to be identified.
According to the Diocese of Austin, they've started a conversation on possibly changing the name of Wozniak Hall at St. Louis Catholic School.
Ultimately, Bishop Vasquez says he hopes the list is a step in the right direction to restore faith and trust in the Catholic community.