Nov 24, 2010

Crime Cops: Priest Hires Hit Man to Murder Boy Alleging Sexual Abuse


Father Fiala

Crime Cops: Priest Hires Hit Man to Murder Boy Alleging Sexual Abuse

  • Posted on November 24, 2010 at 11:09am

A former Catholic priest charged in Texas with sexually assaulting a teenage boy two years ago has been arrested for allegedly trying to arrange the boy's murder, The San Antonio Express-News reports.

John Fiala, 52, was jailed in Dallas on sexual assault charges and one count of solicitation to commit murder, the newspaper reports, quoting unidentified officials.

The newspaper says officers arrested Fiala in Garland, Texas, after he allegedly negotiated with an undercover officer to have the teen killed.

The Dallas Morning News reports that a neighbor tipped off authorities that Fiala allegedly had offered him $5,000 to kill the teenager, who is now 18.

In April, the boy filed suit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio and its then-archbishop in connection with the allegations of sexual abuse.

Fiala was indicted in September on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. According to the charges and the lawsuit, Fiala is accused of raping the teen at gunpoint when he was administrator of Sacred Heart of Mary in Rocksprings, Texas, about 110 miles west of San Antonio.

San Antonio (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest has been arrested on charges that he solicited a hit man to kill a teenager who had accused him of sexual abuse.

Authorities said John Fiala first offered the job to a neighbor, who blew the whistle and helped police arrange a sting. They said Fiala got as far as negotiating a $5,000 price for the slaying before investigators moved in.

The 52-year-old priest was arrested Thursday at his suburban Dallas home and jailed on $700,000 bond. In April, he was named in a lawsuit filed by the boy's family, who accused Fiala of molesting the youth, including twice forcing him to have sex at gunpoint.

The abuse allegedly took place in 2007 and 2008, when Fiala was a priest at the Sacred Heart of Mary Parish in the west Texas community of Rocksprings.

The family's lawsuit also named the Archdiocese of San Antonio and Archbishop Jose Gomez, alleging that church leadership should have known Fiala was abusive.

The suit was filed a month before Gomez was introduced as the new incoming leader of the Los Angeles Archdiocese. He is serving as an assistant to Cardinal Roger Mahony, who will retire next year. Gomez then automatically becomes archbishop.

When he learned of the murder-for-hire investigation, the boy "was terrified, and rightly so," said Tom Rhodes, the boy's lawyer. As far back as 2008, Fiala threatened the teen and repeatedly brandished a pistol, Rhodes said.

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