21 Oct 2010

Priest gets 50 years for rape of child

The Houston Chronicle - Associated Press March 28, 2009

EASTLAND, Texas — Jurors have sentenced a Roman Catholic priest convicted of child sex abuse to 50 years in prison, a term double the original sentence he received during his first trial for the crime.

The Rev. Thomas Teczar had been sentenced to 25 years by a judge in 2007 for raping and molesting an 11-year-old boy. But his convictions on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child were overturned on appeal last fall because of testimony from a witness.

During his retrial, an Eastland County jury took less than an hour to find Teczar guilty of the same charges. On Friday, his 68th birthday, jurors settled on his sentence.

Authorities say the abuse happened in the early 1990s in Ranger, where Teczar was a parish priest.

Teczar took the stand during the punishment phase Friday and testified he was innocent and didn't even know the accuser. But he also admitted to being sexually attracted to teenage boys.

Teczar is in the process of being defrocked at the request of the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese, where he served as a priest from 1988-93 in several parishes.

The diocese has settled with six of Teczar's accusers, including two in 2005 who received $4.15 million.

Teczar was a priest in the Worcester, Mass., diocese until he was kicked out in 1986 for misconduct with boys. He returned to Massachusetts after the abuse allegations surfaced in Texas, diocese officials have said.

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