Houston-area priest gets 10 years for child indecency counts
by The Associated Press
Last Updated Dec 16, 2020 at 8:12 pm EDT
CONROE, Texas — A Houston-area Roman Catholic priest was sentenced to a decade in prison on Wednesday for abusing children at his church more than 20 years ago.
Manuel La Rosa-Lopez pleaded guilty last month to two counts of indecency with a child. As part of an agreement with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, three other indecency with a child charges he was also facing were dropped. He will be eligible for parole after five years.
The two counts La Rosa-Lopez pleaded guilty to arise from allegations made against him while he was a priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe, located just north of Houston.
Priest in Conroe sex abuse cases sentenced to 10 years
Phil Archer, Reporter
“He feels remorseful. This is a sad episode that’s over,” said his attorney Wendell Odom.
The cases stem from his sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy while La Rosa Lopez served as pastor at Conroe’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the ’90s. The sentence ended an investigation that began in 2018 by Conroe Police and the Montgomery County District Attorney after the victims came forward as adults.
During the hearing, both were given the opportunity to confront their abuser.
One of them, now a 35-year-old man, recounted how being abused by La Rosa Lopez, which robbed him of his life and his religion. The victim said he turned to alcohol to dull his pain, eventually landing in prison for DWI. Then he recounted a long, slow climb to redemption, eventually becoming a counselor to other victims of abuse.
Former Conroe priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez heading to prison for child indecency
CONROE, Texas (KTRK) -- A Catholic priest is heading to Texas state prison after his formal sentencing on Wednesday for committing indecency with two underage parishioners 20 years ago.
Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez will serve 10 years in prison on two charges of second-degree felony indecency with a child. The maximum penalty for the charge is 20 years in prison.
Last month, La Rosa-Lopez took a plea deal for the charges connected to two victims, though, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office said he committed crimes against a total of four identified victims.