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Former Texas priest charged with sexually assaulting child arrested at St. Louis-area Catholic facility

Former Texas priest charged with sexually assaulting child arrested at St. Louis-area Catholic facility

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DITTMER — A former Dallas-area priest charged with sexually assaulting a child was arrested Wednesday at a Catholic facility here housing disgraced clergy, including those accused of sexual abuse.

Missouri and Dallas authorities confirmed the arrest Wednesday of Richard Thomas Brown, 78, on a warrant issued Tuesday by Dallas police on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child in North Texas in 1989. 

Brown was taken into custody at a supervised living facility known as the Vianney Renewal Center. The center is run by the Servants of the Paraclete, a Catholic order that houses disgraced priests.

The facility at 6476 Eime Road, about 30 miles southwest of St. Louis, has housed priests from the St. Louis-area and other parts of the country accused of sexual abuse of minors, including men named by the Archdiocese of St. Louis last year as credibly accused of sexual abuse, and six men who are on the Missouri sex offender registry. 

Brown was the subject of a criminal investigation after the Dallas Catholic Diocese named him on a list of 31 credibly accused priests last year, according to the Dallas news station, WFAA-TV. Brown, who was ordained in Texas in 1980 and removed from priesthood in 2002, served at at least five churches in North Texas.

Deputies with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office assisted in Brown's arrest. The office referred requests for comment to Dallas Police, who confirmed Brown's arrest but did not immediately release more details.

A woman at the Vianney Renewal Center who answered a phone call Wednesday referred comment to an official with the Servants of the Paraclete. That official could not immediately be reached. 

The Dittmer center is one of two St. Louis-area supervised living centers for disgraced clergy. A facility in rural Franklin County called RECON, also known as the Wounded Brother’s Project, houses several priests who have been accused of sexual abuse.

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Reporter covering breaking news and crime by night. Born in Algeria but grew up in St. Louis. Previously reported for The Associated Press in Jackson, Mississippi and at the Wichita Eagle in Wichita, Kansas.

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