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Questions Raised About Dallas Diocese Sex Abuse Policy

Nov 11, 2002 | AP A Roman Catholic priest at Dallas downtown cathedral reportedly has been allowed to continue serving despite allegations that he groped a worshipper in 1991.

Dallas Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Galante told The Dallas Morning News that he's been unable to persuade Bishop Charles Grahmann to remove the Fr. Raon Alvarez.

Alvarez is the head priest at the Cathedral-Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The newspaper reports he's accused of assaulting a worshipper who asked him for help with severe back pain.

The newspaper reported the case raises questions about whether the diocese is following its own sexual misconduct policies. Those policies were toughened in the wake of clergy abuse scandals that cost the Dallas Catholic diocese more than $30 million in legal settlements.

Galante is a spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and one of the nation's most outspoken prelates on abuse issues.

The newspaper said the 47-year-old priest and Grahmann declined to comment. But diocesan Chancellor Mary Edlund and spokesman Bronson Havard said they considered the priest's accuser not credible.

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