Seventy-year-old Thomas H. Teczar, who is serving a 50-year sentence in Texas for sexual abuse of a child, has been declared no longer in the clerical state by Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop McManus has announced.
“This is the most severe canonical penalty the Holy Father can impose on a priest,” according to a press release from the diocese.
As a result of the pope’s decision, Mr. Teczar may no longer function in any capacity as a priest, the press release states. Ordained in 1967, Thomas Teczar has not had faculties from the Diocese of Worcester to minister publicly since 1984.
Bishop McManus asks for prayers for healing for all those who have been harmed by Mr. Teczar and all who have suffered sexual abuse, in particular by members of the clergy.
He encourages anyone in need of pastoral assistance as a result of clerical abuse to contact the diocesan victims’ assistance coordinator in the Office of Healing and Prevention by calling 508-929-4363, the press release stated.
“The Diocese of Worcester is committed to creating safe environments in all diocesan facilities and continues to work closely with local law enforcement agencies and community resources to support that commitment. The diocesan background screening of more than 30,000 employees and volunteers over the past decade is but one example of how it has been fully supportive of the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The Diocese of Worcester has been found compliant in all independent audits regarding its policies and procedures in relation to the national charter,” according to the press release.
Mr. Teczar was born on March 27, 1941, in Auburn. According to diocesan records, he graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in 1959, attended Assumption College from 1959 to 1961, then studied for the priesthood at St. Paul University Seminary, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, from 1961 to 1964, and at St. Francis Seminary, Loretto, Penn., from 1964 to 1967. He was ordained a priest Dec. 16, 1967, at Notre Dame Church, Southbridge, by Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Riley of Boston.
He was accused of having sexually abused several boys while he was a priest in the Worcester Diocese and later, in the Fort Worth, Texas, Diocese where he served from 1988 to 1993. He served as a priest in Texas after he had been in treatment, out of work for about four years and rejected by several U.S. and foreign bishops, according to news reports.
He stayed there after Bishop Harrington sent a report to the bishop of Fort Worth saying that Father Teczar “does not have my approval to function as a priest,” the news reports said.
Father Teczar returned to Massachusetts in 1993 after refusing to answer the questions of a Texas grand jury investigating child sexual abuse, news reports stated. He lived in Dudley but did not function as a priest.
In 2007 he was convicted on sexual abuse charges in Texas and sentenced to three concurrent terms of 25 years in prison, but the verdict later was overturned. A Texas appeals court ordered a new trial. At that trial in 2009 he was again found guilty and sentenced to 50 years, according to a report in the Dallas Morning News.