23 Oct 2008

Fort Worth priest's conviction in child abuse case tossed

The Dallas Morning News - October 23, 2008

By SAM HODGES / The Dallas Morning News

A Texas appeals court has overturned the child abuse convictions of a Catholic priest who worked in the Fort Worth Diocese.

The Rev. Thomas Teczar remains in prison, but will get a new trial on charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child. He's alleged to have abused an 11-year-old boy in Eastland County, about 120 miles west of Dallas, in 1990.

The Court of Appeals of Texas, 11th District, ruled that a witness in Father Teczar's 2007 trial was not qualified to testify as an expert.

Russ Thomason, the district attorney in Eastland County, said he plans to re-try Father Teczar soon and will seek a bail amount high enough to keep him behind bars in the meantime.

The Fort Worth Diocese has settled three lawsuits with victims of Father Teczar. An effort to have him defrocked is under way, said Pat Svacina, diocese spokesman.

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