Bishop Anthony B. Taylor issued the following letter Sept. 4 to the people of the Diocese of Little Rock about former priest Robert “Bob” Torres.
“Last month, the Diocesan Review Board and I met with and listened to someone who had been the victim of clergy sexual abuse as a youth in our diocese. We earlier had been contacted by a concerned family member and at that time ensured that a report was made to the Arkansas Department of Human Services, and then began conducting our investigation. In the course of our investigation, we also established a second victim, and we immediately offered assistance to these two known victims and their family members. This abuse occurred over 35 years ago, and at that time both victims were members of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Little Rock. The abuser was Robert Torres, a now laicized former priest who served in the Diocese of Little Rock from 1966 to 1994. During that time, his assignments and/or places of residence included the following: Ashdown and Hope (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Our Lady of Good Hope); Little Rock (Cathedral of St. Andrew; Catholic High School; Christ the King; Good Counsel; St. Theresa); Malvern and Arkadelphia (St. John and St. Mary); North Little Rock (St. Mary and Immaculate Conception); and Paragould (St. Mary).
“Unfortunately, by Mr. Torres’s own admission and from the information we have been able to gather, it is evident that he likely sexually abused at least two or three other young people, whose names Mr. Torres no longer remembers and whom we have been unable to identify or locate. As best we can tell, the most recent of these acts would have been committed over 35 years ago, but I also know that his victims continue to suffer the damaging effects of his actions. Moreover, although we have received no substantiated allegations of offenses by any priests that were committed in recent years, I am deeply concerned for other possible victims of clergy sexual abuse from the decades prior to the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the implementation of our Safe Environment policies shortly thereafter — victims to whom we need to offer whatever assistance we can provide. Accordingly, if you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse by a priest or deacon, please know that you are not alone and that the Diocese of Little Rock stands ready to offer assistance. Please contact our victim assistance coordinators at (501) 766-6001 or Deacon Matthew Glover, chancellor for canonical affairs, at (501) 664-0340. Other than making any required reports to the civil authorities, your identity can remain confidential.”
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