Dallas police execute search warrant at Catholic diocese

Dallas police on Wednesday were searching the headquarters and other properties of the Texas Catholic diocese, Catholic Diocese of Dallas spokeswoman Annette Gonzales Taylor confirmed.

The search warrant is connected to an investigation stemming from the Catholic Church’s long-running sex abuse scandal, the police said.

The raid comes as the church — both in the United States and around the world — wrestles with a fresh wave of scandals that have spurred criminal investigations, roiled the faithful and damaged the institution’s moral credibility.

In January, every Catholic diocese in Texas released the names of all priests, deacons and other clergy members accused of sexually abusing children in the past decades.

At least 298 clergy members across the state have faced “credible abuse” allegations going back to the 1940s, according to the lists compiled by the 15 Texas dioceses.

Leading the number of clergy members accused is the Archdiocese of San Antonio — the largest one in the state — with 56 priests and other clergy listed. Next is the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and the dioceses of Dallas, El Paso and Amarillo.

Texas church leaders and the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter agreed to identify those accused in October as part of an effort “to promote healing and a restoration of trust in the Catholic Church.”

There are 8.5 million Catholics and 1,320 Catholic parishes in Texas, according to the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops.

Within the Diocese of Dallas specifically, there are 69 parishes and five missions serving about 1.2 million Catholics, according to its website.