NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas – A church pastor has apologized to his congregation for not telling police about allegations against a fellow priest.
“I regret not having done that,” the Rev. Tim Thompson told his parishioners Saturday night at the St. John the Apostle Church’s Mass. “I ask for forgiveness for that failure.”
Minutes earlier, he had asked people passing out fliers demanding the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese be more open about sexual abuse to leave the church property.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is upset over reports that Thompson learned in 2001 of possible “pedophilic material” on the Rev. Philip Magaldi’s computer and didn’t report it to police.
Last week, the diocese unsealed the personnel files of seven priests after a court battle. Thompson has been criticized for telling church officials but not police of the parishioner’s tip about Magaldi.
Magaldi, who served at St. John the Apostle from 1993 to 1998, was removed from ministry in 1999 following two accusations of sexual abuse of minors. He has said he’s innocent.
After Thompson asked SNAP members to leave the property, they moved to the sidewalk off church grounds to pass out the fliers, which urged parishioners to demand that Bishop Kevin Vann take “real action” to deter secrecy and crime.
Mary Grant and Kristopher Galland of SNAP said they were at the church Saturday to ask anyone who had been abused by a priest to go to the authorities.
“What’s happened here is such a glaring example of what’s happening all over the country,” said Grant, western regional director of SNAP. “It’s sad that we’re standing out here on the sidewalk, because the bishop and priests should be thanking their parishioners for coming forward to tell of the sexual abuse.”
Before the Mass began, Thompson said from the pulpit that he wanted to address the issue of the diocese’s released documents and the media attention on the church.
“I know we all feel the same sense of humiliation and disgrace at all that took place,” he said.
Thompson said that the 2001 tip he had received about Magaldi was “third-hand information.”
“I reported to the diocese, which is what I thought I should have done,” he said.
Thompson said last week that he thought he had acted appropriately by informing Bishop Joseph P. Delaney of what he had heard.
SNAP has asked that Thompson be disciplined by Vann, who succeeded the late Delaney last year. Vann said Friday that while he won’t reprimand Thompson, he will remind him of his duty to report allegations to police.