Dead priest with local ties on sexual abuse allegations list

EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON

Priest at MassA list of 22 Catholic priests “credibly accused of committing sexual abuse against a minor” released by the Diocese of Austin on Jan. 31 included one with ties to the Highland Lakes.

The late Paul M. Clogan served as the priest at Holy Trinity in Llano and St. Paul the Apostle Church in Horseshoe Bay at some point during his priesthood, though the diocese didn’t give dates for his appointments at those churches.

He also served in churches in Bryan, Austin, and Mason during his career. Clogan faced criminal charges in Marble Falls after a 16-year-old alleged in 2005 that the then-Horseshoe Bay priest groped him in a movie theater. Following the accusation, the dioceses of both Portland, Maine, and Austin suspended him. Clogan was ordained in Maine in 1999 at the age of 68.

He died in 2012 at the age of 81.

A Burnet County grand jury indicted Clogan in March 2006 on indecency with a child by contact, a second-degree felony.

A 2008 jury trial ended before arguments began when the former priest’s attorney filed a motion for mistrial based on issues of jury selection. The judge granted the motion, and the trial was rescheduled for a later date. According to Burnet County records, Clogan entered a guilty plea in March 2012 for the charge of injury to a child, a third-degree felony. He was sentenced to five years of community service.

In 2018, the bishop of the Diocese of Austin, the Rev. Jose S. Vasquez, said he would release a list of priests with ties to the diocese who had credible sexual abuse allegations against them. He released that list Thursday.

“With a contrite heart, I have provided the names of clergy and religious who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor,” Vasquez said in a video statement on the diocese website. “I apologize and express my deepest sorrow to the victims and their families for the abuse that occurred and for any failures of the Diocese of Austin.

“I pray daily for these and all victims of sexual abuse that God’s compassionate love may ease their pain and suffering and bring healing and hope to their lives,” the bishop said. “These victims have endured much trauma at the hands of clergy they once trusted.”

During the process of compiling the list, Bishop Vasquez turned to outside professionals to work with his staff, which is composed mostly of laypersons, to go through about 70 years of documents. The list — also available at the above website — contains the names of those for whom the diocese has received “a credible allegation of committing sexual abuse against a minor.”

The diocese will amend the list if it gets further credible allegations.

In a written statement on the website, the Diocese of Austin said a name on the list doesn’t mean the allegations have been proven by the diocese, a court, or other authority or constitute guilt.

Bishop Vasquez added that anyone who has been sexually abused should report it to law enforcement authorities, and, if a priest committed the act, the victims should also report it to the Office of Ethics and Integrity in Ministry by contacting (512) 949-2447 or emily-hurlimann@austindiocese.org.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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