Rev. Edward Pavlicek (inset) arrived at St. Thomas in July but was stripped of his priestly duties on Oct. 26 after an investigation by the archdiocesan review board of San Antonio established there was sufficient evidence he sexually molested an 11-year-old child between 1986 and 1988.
Parishioners who attended mass at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Canyon Lake on Sunday learned they will soon have a new parish priest following the abrupt dismissal of Rev. Edward Pavlicek on Oct. 26.
The Archdiocese of San Antonio sent Rev. Martin Leopold to the church by Canyon Dam to read a letter from Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller during mass, and to discuss its investigation into alleged sexual abuse of an 11-year-old child by Rev. Pavlicek between 1986 and 1988, according to Jordan McMorrough, communications director for the archdiocese.
Rev. Leopold is an expert in canon law and oversees the diocese’s 15-year-old Office of Victim Assistance & Safe Environment, which serves as the initial contact point in the archdiocese for those who have experienced clergy abuse.
Rev. Pavlicek arrived at St. Thomas in July but was stripped of his priestly duties on Aug. 29 after the archdiocese learned of the abuse and reported it to San Antonio District Attorney Nico LaHood.
However, LaHood was unable to prosecute Rev. Pavlicek as the statute of limitations for sexual assault of a child only allowed prosecution until the victim turned 28.
But McMorrough said the archdiocesan review board created by the church concluded there was sufficient evidence the abuse had occurred, and referred the matter to the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith at the Vatican, in Rome, for further action.
In a statement posted to archsa.org, Archbishop García-Siller thanked the victim of sexual abuse for “bravely coming forward and helping the Archdiocese by sharing these deeply personal and painful experiences.”
This was the first allegation of child sexual abuse involving Rev. Pavlicek that the diocese has received. Rev. Pavlicek served as parochial vicar of St. Leo the Great in San Antonio from June 1986 to June 1989, and as parochial vicar and temporary administrator of St. Ann Church in San Antonio from June 1983 to June 1986.
Every church where he served also received an individualized statement for bulletins, McMorrough said.
Other parishes where Rev. Pavlicek worked include Church of the Good Shepherd and Immaculate Conception in Marion from July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2018; St. Mary’s in Somerset from June 2, 2003 to July 1, 2011; St. Benedict in San Antonio from June 3,1991 to June 2, 2003; and Sacred Heart in Floresville from June 1, 1989 to June 3, 1991.
In a statement released on Oct. 10 by the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, 15 Catholic dioceses in Texas announced they will release the names of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor since 1950. Lists will be published by Jan. 31, 2019.
“It will take some time for files to be reviewed, and there may be people who come forward with new information following the announcement,” García-Siller said. “My brother bishops in Texas and I agree that transparency in this painful matter of sexual abuse can assist with healing for survivors and transformation for our church.”
To read more about a Lay Commission on Clergy Sexual Abuse of Minors the archbishop established to audit San Antonio’s handling of clergy sexual abuse of minors since 1940, click here.
To report sexual abuse by a Catholic priest, contact the Steve Martinez, director of the Office for Victim Assistance and Safe Environment, at 210-734-7786.