Brownsville Diocese removes McAllen priest after sexual misconduct allegations

Catholic Diocese of Brownsville
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The Catholic Diocese of Brownsville has removed another priest over allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor.

According to a statement from Bishop Daniel E. Flores, the diocese received “an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor” against Monsignor Gustavo Barrera. The alleged incident is said to have taken place 35 years ago.

The statement went on to explain that an individual met with the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator to report the incident. The unidentified person was reportedly encouraged to make a report with police, but they declined. Despite that, the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator did file a report with the police.

Flores said that Barrera was removed from “priestly faculties for ministry” after he received the report on March 15. The Diocesan Review Board is in the process of assessing the credibility of the accusation.

“The Diocesan Review Board is in the process of completing its assessment,” Flores said in the statement. “A credible allegation does not mean guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; it means there is a semblance of truth sufficient for diocesan protocols to be enacted.”

While the Diocesan Review Board continued its assessment, Barrera submitted his resignation and retirement from Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in McAllen.

“I am deeply saddened and ask you to join me as I pray for the individual who came forward and all the parties affected, including parishioners, and the clergy across our diocese who tend to their faithful with fidelity and compassion,” Flores said in the statement.

Barrera is the second priest with the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville to be removed following similar accusations this year. ​​

Fernando Gonzalez Ortega was removed from his priestly duties at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Brownsville after an individual, who is now an adult, spoke to the Diocesan Victim’s Assistance Coordinator in February.

Gonzalez was arrested and charged with continuing sexual abuse of a child, continuous trafficking of persons, trafficking of persons, sexual assault of a child and sexual performance of a child.

“The Diocese of Brownsville takes seriously any allegation of sexual misconduct with children and vulnerable adults,” Flores said in the statement. “The safety and well-being of all people are of utmost importance, and the Church’s safe environment policies seek to protect all of God’s children.”

He said that the Church encourages anyone who is a victim of sexual abuse to contact their local police and the Texas Department of Protective Services at 1-800-252-5400. Anyone who has been the victim of abuse within the diocese is also encouraged to contact the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator Margie Garcia by calling (956) 238-1455, or send an email to [email protected].


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