By Alan Bean
The painful story Gillian Flaccus tells in this AP story unfolded while Friends of Justice was fighting a bogus drug bust. I didn’t say anything about the sexual abuse scandal revolving around “Father John” Salazar in my Tulia book because it had little bearing on the drug sting and, to be honest, because I was personally close to virtually all the primary actors. Father John Salazar, whatever his alleged crimes, was beloved by his congregation and identified closely with the poorest members of his largely Latino congregation. Salazar cared about social justice and served as an advocate for the most vulnerable members of his flock. I can still see him dancing joyfully with his people at the weddings and Quinceañeras Nancy and I frequently attended.
But the young man Salazar is accused of molesting was a family friend, and there was nothing the least bit just, redemptive or joyful about the sexual counter between priest and parishioner recounted in the AP story below.
Can a single man be a dedicated priest and a pedophile at the same time? So it appears.
Bishop Leroy Matthiesen, the man who placed a priest with a history of sex abuse in the Tulia parish, was also a close friend and supporter. “Bishop Matt” (as his friends called him) was a courageous cleric with the courage to preach against the arms race in the back yard of “the bomb”. (more…)