Prison officials deny early release for abusive Texas priest

Posted Friday, Jun. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Texas prison officials denied a petition for early medical release Friday for convicted child sex abuser Thomas Teczar, a former Catholic priest.

Teczar, 72, wanted to serve only four years of a 50-year sentence handed down in 2009 on three charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one charge of indecency with a child.

Teczar was recently admitted to a medical facility in Dickinson and continues to be treated there for an undisclosed condition. He was listed in fair condition Friday, said Jason Clark, spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Eastland County District Attorney Russ Thomason said his office received notice Wednesday that Teczar had applied for early release. Teczar served as parish priest in Ranger, about 90 miles southwest of Fort Worth, and in other parishes in Eastland and Tarrant counties.

“Just because Thomas Teczar is old and sick doesn’t mean he’s safe,” Thomason said. “This man has a 50-year history of injuring children.”

Others familiar with the case protested Teczar’s possible release and complained about the lack of notice from prison officials.

Tahira Khan Merritt, a Dallas attorney who represented six of Teczar’s victims in Texas and was a special prosecutor in Teczar’s criminal trial in Eastland County, said: “A jury of 12 sat through the evidence at his trial and said this is a person who should never get out. To me, to release him would take away what the justice system is all about.”

A jury concluded that Teczar raped an 11-year-old Ranger boy in 1990. He was accused of molesting scores of victims during more than 40 years. Teczar was 68 when he received his 50-year sentence.

David Clohessy, director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he objected to Teczar’s parole because the risk that he might be faking his illness was too great.

“Kids are safer with Teczar behind bars,” Clohessy said. “Just because a predator is elderly doesn’t mean he’s less dangerous. And just because a predator claims he’s ill doesn’t mean he really is.”

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752 Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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