22 Jan 2011

Priest recently charged for sex abuse of teen now charged for hiring hit man to kill the boy

Canada.com - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services November 23, 2010

Clergyman accused of trying to hire hit man to kill teen he's charged with abusing

By Judy L. Thomas, McClatchy Newspapers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A former Kansas City area Catholic priest recently charged with sexually abusing a teenager in Texas is now accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill the boy.

The Rev. John M. Fiala, who served in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas in 2001 and 2002, was arrested last week in Dallas by Texas Rangers and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers during a murder-for-hire investigation.

Fiala, 52, is accused of negotiating with an undercover agent to have the teen killed, said a Texas DPS spokeswoman. He was charged with one count of criminal solicitation to commit capital murder.

Fiala also has been indicted on multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child _ including two charges filed last week _ involving the boy.

He is being held in the Dallas County Jail on $500,000 bond on the murder solicitation charge and $200,000 bond on the sexual assault charges.

"This man clearly is a dangerous predator, and the public needs to be protected from him," said Tom Rhodes, an attorney representing the teen in a civil lawsuit that was filed last spring. [SEE LINK TO ARTICLE BELOW]

The lawsuit accuses Fiala of assaulting the boy repeatedly in 2007 and 2008 _ twice at gunpoint _ while Fiala was a pastoral administrator at Sacred Heart of Mary Parish in Rocksprings, Texas. The boy was 16 at the time.

The man listed in court records as Fiala's attorney is no longer representing him, an assistant said Tuesday.

San Antonio Archdiocese spokesman Pat Rodgers said Fiala has been removed from the public ministry, meaning he cannot present himself as a priest, according to The Associated Press.

Officials with the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said they received no complaints about Fiala when he was in the Kansas City area.

From August 1998 until mid-2001, Fiala served as spiritual director to the SOLT (Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity) community, which maintains a religious house in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. During that period, the diocese said, Fiala had no parish assignment.

Fiala was an associate pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Shawnee, Kan., from Aug. 31, 2001, to January 2002. After that, he helped at a parish in Holton, Kan., from January to April 2002, according to the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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