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Women say adults also victimized after list released of priests accused of child abuse

A group of women suing an Austin priest who, they say, sexually abused them want the Catholic Church to investigate more than just abuse cases involving minors. (CBS Austin)

A group of women suing an Austin priest who, they say, sexually abused them want the Catholic Church to investigate more than just abuse cases involving minors.

Two of six women who are part of a lawsuit filed in November of 2017 gave an anonymous interview on the day the church released a list of clergy members accused of abusing only minors.

The women said Father Isidore Ndagizimana, formerly of St. Thomas More Catholic Church off FM 620, made unwanted sexual advances. One woman said Father Izzy asked about their sex life with their spouse -- in the confessional and another time pushed her head in his crotch.

“When a priest is touching you, when a priest is kissing you, when a priest is assaulting anyone in the confessional, I think they’re suffering from the abuse,” said one victim.

The women say they went to several church leaders asking for help and action, but Father Izzy was left in the parish for five months before being relocated to St. Mary Parish in Brenham on July 2, 2018, where he was an associate pastor.

According to a statement issued in November, Father Izzy became a pastor for St. Thomas More Parish in Austin on July of 2012. He resigned that position on Oct. 9, 2017. Father Izzy was again placed on leave Aug. 21, 2018.

On Thursday, the diocese released a list only focused on abuse complaints from minors.

“We believe they’re the first ones we must look at and be concerned about. The minors are the ones who are vulnerable who need protection and need care and they’re the ones that are saying this. So for us to have put together other groups for adults that would have not been fair to them. This is out of concern for (the minors) and concern for their well-being,” said Bishop Joe Vasquez.

The bishop did say he was open to discussing accusations from adults but was primarily focused on the minors right now.

The two victims we spoke with feel all abuse by clergy need to be reviewed the same way. “We have all been affected in deep and painful ways, there’s women who’ve been suffering from PTSD about this,” said one of the women.

Earlier this week, the law firm that represents the church and Father Izzy filed to have the women’s lawsuit thrown out, and they’re also trying to deny the women their “Jane Doe” anonymous status.

“We all have children we’re trying to protect,” said one women.

Bishop Vasquez declined to comment on the pending legal case. CBS Austin also reached out to the attorneys who represent the church and Father Izzy and have not received a response.

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