Crime

Texas Priest Accused of Abusing Teen, Tries to have Boy Killed

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

A Catholic priest in Dallas, already charged with sexually abusing a teenged boy, is now accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill the teen.

Rev. John Fiala appeared in court on Tuesday where he was charged with one count of criminal solicitation to commit capital murder. That is in addition to his previous charges of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

The 52-year-old Fiala was out on bail when he was arrested last week after he allegedly offered an undercover agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety $5,000 to kill the teen, according to department spokeswoman Lisa Block.

"This guy," Edwards County Sheriff Don Letsinger said, "is an evil man."

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The attorney for the boy, Tom Rhodes, said, "Approximately a week ago, we got an anonymous phone call from someone saying, 'Look, I'm living in a building with this guy, and he's talking about killing this young man.' Our response was, 'You need to call police.'"

Letsinger said he got a call November 11 from the neighbor. The man said Fiala had offered him $5,000 to kill the teenager.

So the Department of Public Safety and its Texas Ranger Division got involved, sending the undercover agent to speak with Fiala, and the offer was allegedly made. The conversation was caught on video and audiotape.

Rhodes said Fiala sexually abused his client once or twice a month starting in early 2008 when he was 16, including a rape at gunpoint. Rhodes said Fiala threatened to kill the teenager if he told anyone.

He finally told a school counselor earlier this year. In addition to the criminal charges, there is also a civil suit against Fiala and three Catholic archdioceses.