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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 25, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 21
Ex-priest sentenced for trying to kill rape victim
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Ex-priest sentenced for trying to kill rape victim

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

John Fiala, a former Catholic priest, has been sentenced by a Texas court to 60 years in prison for trying to hire a hit man to kill a boy he had raped.

Fiala, now 53, will be eligible for parole in 2027.

According to the victim, now 20, the events leading up the murder attempt began four years ago when he was 16.

Then a priest, Fiala offered to drive the boy to his girlfriend's house, a few hours away from the West Texas town where both the priest and the victim lived.

On the way, Fiala stopped at a motel where he forced the boy to have sex with him.

On other occasions, Fiala assaulted the boy in his car and in the rectory of his church, the victim testified. At one point, he made the boy perform sex acts at gunpoint.

The accuser recalled the attacks in graphic detail for the court, including the first one he remembered.

'He turns off the light and bad things start happening,' he said.

The victim testified he had never told his family about the sexual assaults because he was afraid Fiala would retaliate against them.

'I felt like I was saving their lives,' the accuser testified.

After numerous rapes and assaults, Fiala attempted in 2010 to hire a Dallas hit man to kill the victim.

The purported hit man was actually an undercover Texas Department of Public Safety agent, however, and Fiala was arrested.

After his arrest, authorities found photos of young men, some of them possibly underage, on his computer. Reportedly, some of them were wearing only underwear and others were naked.

According to a separate civil suit filed by the victim against the archdioceses of San Antonio and Omaha, and the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, church officials knew that Fiala was a serial pedophile and did nothing to stop him.

Documents obtained by the San Antonio Express-News revealed that complaints against Fiala began in 1988, only four years after he was ordained.

He was transferred from parish to parish - the way the church tried to cover up priestly misconduct in many such cases - and at one point was suspended by the archdiocese of Omaha. He was later reinstated by the archdiocese of San Antonio.

In addition to inappropriate conduct with parish boys, Fiala was also accused of mismanaging the financial affairs of his parishes.

He was dismissed from his priestly duties in 2008, after additional complaints of 'unbecoming behavior with minors.'

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