Edmundo Paredes is the Catholic priest who went missing after being accused of molesting three teenage boys and stealing money from his parish. Paredes was the pastor at St Cecilia Catholic Church in Oak Cliff, Dallas for 27 years. On Sunday, the church announced that Paredes had disappeared.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Paredes May Have Fled to the Philippines, Officials Believe
Bishop Edward Burns announced Paredes’ disappearance on Sunday August 19, right after the conclusion of the 7:30AM mass.
Burns said that there was reason to believe Paredes could be in the Phillipines, which is his native country. A spokeswoman for the diocese, Annette Gonzales Taylor, said Paredes traveled to the Philippines every year. Bishop Edward Burns said that the diocese has hired private detectives to try and find Paredes.
“Now that we know of his criminal sexual acts, we want to get a handle on him,” said Burns.
On Monday, Philippine officials told the diocese that there was no sign of Paredes in the country.
2. The Church Has Been Accused of Covering Up Paredes’ Alleged Misconduct
Back in February, diocese officials asked law enforcement to being investigating Paredes. Bishop Burns said that they received allegations that Paredes had molested three teenage boys — and, the bishop said, the allegations were “credible.”
The diocese asked for help from local police. But they did not notify parishioners that Paredes was under investigation until Saturday, August 18. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests issued a statement criticizing the Dallas diocese for not notifying parishioners earlier. The statement hinted that the diocese was more concerned about protecting itself from scandal than about protecting the children in its care.
“Why would Bishop burns suppress this crucial information?” the statement read. “Was it to protect the diocese from scandal? What about concern for the safety of children and the need to comfort any survivors?”
3. Three Men Have Come Forward to Say Paredes Molested Them Ten Years Ago
Three young men have claimed that Paredes sexually molested them about ten years ago, when they were in their mid-teens. The men’s identities have not been revealed.
Paredes, who served as pastor of St Cecilia’s for 27 years, also helped to supervise the parochial school connected to the church.
On Saturday, Bishop Burns tried to explain why the church had been so slow to tell parishioners about the charges against Paredes. He said, “Our priority was to determine the truth and protect the victims who showed courage by coming forward. With the utmost sensitivity to victims, I have pledged to continue efforts of transparency and need to make you aware of this atrocious and sad event. I want to assure the entire community that we are working to find solutions to create a safer environment. I offer my heartfelt apologies that these crimes have happened in your parish and please know I am praying for all victims of sexual abuse and for all of you here in the St. Cecilia community.”
4. Paredes Reportedly Admitted to ‘Financial Misconduct’ With Church Funds
Bishop Burns said that between $60,000 and $80,000 had gone missing from St Cecilia’s parish funds. He said that Paredes had admitted to some financial misconduct while he was pastor.
Burns said that no money had been taken from the school, or from a fund intended to repair the church after a fire damaged it in 2007.
The church has hired private investigators to try and track down Paredes. Officials said that he might have gone back to the Philippines; Paredes is orginally from the Philippines and takes annual vacations there. But as of Monday, Philippine officials told the diocese that there was no sign of Paredes in the country.
5.Paredes Was Born in 1948 in the Phillipines And Was First Ordained as a Priest in Dallas
Paredes was born on November 7, 1948 in the Philippines. There is little information available about his early life, and it’s not quite clear how he came to be living in Dallas, Texas. But on June 1, 1985, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Dallas. He became the parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church on June 25, 1985.
Paredes the was named pastor of St. Cecilia on June 15, 1990 . He served as pastor until through June of last year, when he was removed from office. He also served on the priest personnel board and as head of one “deanery,”or grouping of parishes in a geographical area.