Parishioners react to Catholic Diocese list of accused priests

WHITESBORO, Tex. (KXII) -- The Catholic Diocese of Dallas released a list last week of priests accused of sexually abusing children.

Nine of them once worked in the counties we cover, including a longtime priest at St. Mary's in Sherman.

Father Jeremy Myers wrote a letter to the parish he preached at in Whitesboro, given to them Sunday.

The letter was in Sunday's church bulletin.

Myers doesn't directly address the allegations against him.

He writes that he resigned last month and said he's been under investigation for four months.

Myers goes on to thank the church for their 25 years together.

"He's a good man, he really is. He is a shepherd of the people. He has been here for us," said parishioner Ruth Campbell.

Campbell has attended St. Francis of Assisi in Whitesboro for almost 20 years.

She said Myers preached there at least twice a month until October.

"I do believe they're going to find out he's innocent," Campbell said.

Campbell went to the meeting at St. Mary's last week, where Catholic Diocese of Dallas Bishop Edward Burns broke the news to the church about Myers name being included on the list of priests accused of sexually abusing children from 1950 to present.

Myers' allegation is from 30 years ago from the Diocese of Little Rock Arkansas, who said the report was made to the State of Arkansas Hotline for Crimes Against Children.

An accusation Campbell doesn't believe.

"They've torn him to pieces. He will never be able to come back to us. That is the worst thing. We just want to make sure his name is cleared," Campbell said.

In a letter to the St. Francis congregation, Myers writes, "One of the heaviest burdens of this investigative process has been the knowledge that you have had to suffer the absence of a pastor for the past four months."

He goes on to say, "My resignation allows you to turn the page and to welcome a new day."

"The only thing wrong he's ever done is, well, I can't think of anything," Campbell said.

"It's hard to believe, it really is," said Susan Handelind, a parishioner at St. Patrick's in Denison.

She was shocked to hear the news about Myers.

"St. Patrick's has held together. Everybody's been faithful and gone to church," Handelind said.

Campbell said she's just going to keep praying.

"Not only for the victims, but we need to keep praying for those that are falsely accused," Campbell said.

Little Rock Police said they don't have any reports under his name and their records only date back to 1992.

St. Mary's Parish in Sherman declined to comment.

Myers' status is listed as suspended.