Trending
MOST READ
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Big Hops Gastropub Brings Beer-centric Eats to the Northside

Big Hops Gastropub Brings Beer-centric Eats to the Northside

Food & Drink: On a recent Sunday, my wife and I drove up 281 and into the heart of San Antonio’s ever-expanding Northside suburbs to try out... By Lance Higdon 8/20/2014

Best Romantic Restaurant

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
What to Know Before You Go On A Cleanse

What to Know Before You Go On A Cleanse

Food & Drink: It’s been a year since I’ve taken up this gig of eating and drinking across San Antonio. Since then, no fewer than seven juice shops have opened in the area... By Jessica Elizarraras 8/20/2014
10 Unconventional Dorm-room Recipes for Improvising Foodies

10 Unconventional Dorm-room Recipes for Improvising Foodies

College Issue 2014: Food in college can be mundane, especially when you frequent campus cafeterias. But college food doesn’t have to be boring and routine. With a... By Briana Denham 8/18/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

News

Claims of sexual abuse by former Southside priest results in calls to stay execution

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

A young Humberto Leal (left) with Sister Maria and his brother at St. Clare’s church.

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Leal’s first communion certificate, signed by Federico Fernandez


According to Lisak, however, delayed outcry is actually normal in cases of sexual abuse. “Especially for men who are sexually abused, it’s common for them to deny it and hide it for a long period of time, and often times they never disclose it.”

Further complicating matters is the fact that Leal, a Mexican national on death row, was denied access to his consulate during the initial trial and punishment phase of his case, a violation of a crucial international convention the U.S. relies on. His case has become embroiled in an international controversy U.S. officials are still trying to iron out.

In conjunction with his clemency petition last week, a wide range of former U.S. diplomats, retired military leaders, and other high-level officials urged Texas to stay Leal’s execution while Congress works on a legislative fix that would have Leal’s case reviewed, in line with the wishes of the International Court of Justice at the Hague. On Tuesday U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont introduced a bill that would require a federal review of the outstanding controversial death penalty cases, and Babcock argues that the review would give her the opportunity to present what she calls glaring errors in the case against Leal.

Babcock also claims Leal’s initial defense was hopelessly deficient, and says these claims of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest could have persuaded jurors away from the death penalty.

Valdez said the DA’s office still would not be able to bring a case against Father Fernandez for the alleged assault against Leal, regardless of how true the claims may be. Though Texas abolished any statute of limitation on sexual abuse of a child cases in 2007, the statute applicable at the time of Leal’s alleged abuse rules out any prosecution of his specific case today, Valdez said.

“I think the larger point is that an investigation is warranted to determine just how many children were victimized and to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the abuse – including the age of the victims – before concluding that a prosecution is impossible,” Babcock wrote in an email. Within just two weeks of searching, Babcock’s investigator found four more victims who claimed Fernandez sexually abused them – victims who had never before come forward.

“If we found that many within such a short time, it seems highly likely to us that there are many others out there we don’t know about,” she said. •

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus