Church moves forward despite scandal

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Morgan Chesky - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The shock of a suspected child predator in their midst has an East Texas church struggling to move forward.

30 year old Jorge Sanchez, a seminary student at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, remains jailed tonight on charges he had an inappropriate relationship with a now-sixteen year old girl.

"They're very shocked that such a thing would happen," said Father Gavin Vaverek with the Diocese of Tyler. "He was doing an internship and then he would go back for two years of graduate studies."

Sanchez's future now has few options, but Father Vaverek says the church now faces plenty as they address the issue. "It's very hard to tell who's going to do something bad, we have psychological testing in place for decades," said Vaverek.

Peer and faculty evaluations are also required, along with training every church youth worker.  The rules are meant to keep the kissing, inappropriate text messages and emails found in Sanchez's arrest affidavit from happening. However, Father Anthony McLaughlin says when they do, the church must not by a by-stander.

"It is our policy in the Diocese of Tyler to be fully transparent," said McLaughlin,"Having done all we humanly can when someone offends in this way we as a church move immediately so that there's no more harm."

The Diocese of Tyler responded quickly, posting a statement to their web site Monday and planning to address their church congregation Sunday. "I think we're constantly moving forward because the light of Christ impels us to move forward," said McLaughlin. "We have had much experience with the good the bad and the ugly."

"We don't judge their intentions just their actions," added Father Vaverek. "We haven't reached the age yet where people are no longer inclined to cross boundaries and obviously we've got some work to do to get an environment that's better."

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