Richard Thomas Brown

Richard Thomas Brown

A former Dallas-area priest accused of sexually assaulting children was being held in the Jefferson County Jail on Monday morning (Feb. 3), Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Grant Bissell said.

Authorities arrested Richard Thomas Brown, 78, on Jan. 29 at the Vianney Renewal Center, 6476 Eime Road, in Dittmer, which is run by the Servants of the Paraclete, a Catholic order that houses disgraced priests.

The facility reportedly has housed priests from the St. Louis-area and other parts of the country accused of sexually abusing minors, including priests the Archdiocese of St. Louis named last year as credibly accused of sexual abuse, and six men who are on the Missouri sex offender registry.

Brown was wanted on a warrant issued by the Dallas Police Department on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child stemming from incidents between 1989 and 1996, the police department reported.

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office told a Fort Worth news station that Brown has signed an extradition waiver and the Sheriff’s Office has 10 days to pick him up in Missouri.

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 Fort Worth news station.

Brown, who was ordained in Texas in 1980 and removed from priesthood in 2002, served at least five churches in North Texas, a Dallas news station reported.

He was stripped of his authority to act publicly as a priest, but he wasn’t laicized, or defrocked, until September 2019, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Deputies with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office assisted in Brown’s arrest.

The Servants of the Paraclete did not respond to an email seeking information about Brown’s time at the Dittmer facility as of the Leader deadline on Monday.

The Dittmer center reportedly 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.