By: FOX4News.com Staff
Police are looking into claims of sexual abuse at a church in North Richland Hills after the congregation made the allegations public during its weekend services.
During every mass at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church on Sunday, a letter was read.
The letter said: “The Diocese of Fort Worth has received reports very recently of sexual abuse of children by a layman who is a member of St. John the Apostle parish. The abuse is alleged to have occurred over the last seven or so years.”
"Allegations that happened several years ago,” said investigator Keith Bauman. “Too early to say this has it’s been an ongoing situation.”
Police say the allegations involve three children ages 5 to 10 — children who are now in their teens.
In the letter to parishioners, the church goes on to say: “The allegations of sexual abuse do not involve a priest, or a deacon, but, instead, a lay volunteer. The allegations have come from several victims… reported to have taken place on St. John the Apostle church property, during evening prayer meetings.
"The three allegations were from several years ago that we're looking at,” said Bauman. “That does not mean the case will start that way. We don't know the scope of whether it's going to grow."
Police say two of the alleged cases of sexual abuse happened at the church. The third case occurred in Colleyville at an undisclosed location.
"We're just glad somebody came forward with the accusations because a lot of individuals that become victims of things and never tell anybody” explained Bauman. “And then they live in the shadows, and that's very sad."
North Richland Hills police say no arrests have been made at this time.
This story was written by Jolene Almendarez and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs.
ITHACA, N.Y. -- A man accused of sexually abusing two young children was taken into custody less than 25 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas on Saturday, two days before his trial was set to begin in Ithaca.
Ever Benites, 36, who was out on bail after being charged with multiple felonies for abusing two children over several years, was taken into custody at a travel center in Edinburg, Texas.
After learning that Benites was on a bus from Nashville to Texas, Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia secured a bench warrant from a Tompkins County judge and called police departments along the bus route.
Benites was arrested at 5:06 p.m. CDT at the Edinburg Travel Center off of U.S. 281 and booked into the Hidalgo County jail about four hours later, according to an official from the sheriff’s office.
The final destination of the bus, operated by Tornado Bus Company, was Brownsville, Texas, a city directly bordering Mexico.
Benites, who was released on $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bond in December, did not show up to his court appearance in Tompkins County Friday. At that time, he apparently falsely told his attorney, Seth Peacock, that his bus from Nashville to Ithaca had been delayed in Cincinnati.
“We had concerns when he didn’t show up Friday,” Bonavia said.
Danny Johnston, who hired Benites in January as an independent contractor for his Nashville-based remodeling company, Johnston Property Services, said three customers reported stolen items after Benites worked in their homes.
Johnston’s girlfriend, Courtney Nunnally, said Benites stole more than $30,000 in watches and other jewelry from customer’s homes. Nunnally said Benites left a letter to his cousin where he said he planned “to stock-pile cash, steal and pawn items to get cash to run.”
Johnston and Nunnally said that when they learned that Benites may be heading to Mexico, they contacted the Tompkins County Sheriff's Office, the Ithaca Police Department, The Ithaca Voice and Bonavia.
The DA’s office will seek a governor’s warrant to bring Benites back to Tompkins County unless Benites waives extradition, Bonavia said. “He's not going to be here by Monday, that's for sure,” Bonavia said.
Benites worked off and on for the Ithaca City School District from 2002 to 2013 in multiple roles, including pre-kindergarten teacher aide, substitute teaching assistant and custodian.
Benites is facing two counts of felony first-degree sexual abuse, felony course of sexual conduct against a child and two counts of misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child.
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Tulsa woman was sentenced to 45 years on each of three child sexual abuse charges involving an 8-year-old girl. Gloria Tiger and Ahmad Jenkins were arrested in December 2015 after Tulsa police obtained a video that showed them engaging in sexual acts with the child, records show.
Tiger will serve 35 years in the custody of the Department of Corrections and 10 years probation in concurrent sentences. She was sentenced to 20 years for manufacturing child pornography, also to be served concurrently.
What is the point of concurrent sentences? What!?
Jenkins was sentenced in June. He received two life sentences for child sexual abuse and 25 years for manufacturing child pornography.