THE REV. WILLIAM REECE HOOVER
Ordained: May 28, 1955, Dallas-Fort Worth
Died: Oct. 19, 1996
Assignments: St. James, Dallas; Holy Cross, Dallas; St.Patrick, Fort Worth; Christ the King, Dallas; Blessed Sacrament,Dallas; St. Cecilia, Dallas; St. Edward, location not known; St.Thomas, location not known; Holy Name, Fort Worth; St. Patrick, FortWorth
The Rev. William Hoover was a fixture at St. Patrick Cathedral indowntown Fort Worth. Even after an allegation was raised against him in1995, he continued to receive support from his congregation.
That year, Bishop Delaney announced that Hoover had admitted tomolesting a child at Boy Scout outings while serving as the Scouts'chaplain about 38 years earlier.
After learning of the allegation, Hoover's congregation held atleast one prayer service, "a Holy Hour for Father William Hoover." Theyalso prayed for the victim.
But from the start, Delaney's public announcement about the case hadheld back crucial details, including that Hoover had admitted abusingtwo other boys about the same time.
Delaney also did not say that he was considering putting Hoover backinto ministry, even as new allegations of abuse came to his attention.
Bishop knew of other victims
Hoover's first accuser contacted the diocese in summer 1995, tellingof how he had been abused as a child and had in turn had sex with anadolescent. The victim listed $50,000 in costs he wanted the diocese topay, though Delaney wrote that the diocese had no legal liability inthe case.
When Delaney issued a public statement about the incident on July 2,1995, he said a man had come forward to report "an incident thatoccurred nearly 40 years ago."
Delaney told the Star-Telegram that day, "When a complaint ofthis nature is found to be true, the care of the Catholic communityrequires that a full disclosure be made."
But just a few days before, Hoover had told Delaney "there were two other boys with whom he was involved at the same time ..."
The next day, Delaney wrote that he was deliberately stingy withinformation. "Because the facts made public are so few I hope that thepublicity will quickly die down."
Because of newspaper and radio coverage of the abuse, the diocese was hearing about new allegations against Hoover.
By July 7, there were at least five additional complaints against the priest, according to a Star-Telegram article published at the time.
In an Aug. 11 memo in the confidential files, Delaney wrote that hehad learned that nine boys were alleged to have been abused, incontrast to the three boys the priest had admitted to molesting. Morecomplaints were to come.
The next day, Delaney sent a letter to the parishioners of St.Patrick Cathedral. Delaney publicly acknowledged for the first timethat Hoover had immediately admitted to molesting several individuals.
But he told parishioners that "in spite of all the publicity, therehave been no further accusations of misconduct by Father Hoover andnone occurring after 1960."
Back under consideration for ministry work
By winter 1995, Delaney was considering whether to put Hoover back to work.
Delaney wrote in the confidential files on Nov. 28, 1995, thatHoover would probably stay retired, but he considered the priest forother duties: "Possibilities include representative to priests, helpingSpanish ministry at Holy Name, Prop of Faith, etc."
In October 1996, on a sightseeing trip in New York City, Hoover collapsed and died of a heart attack at age 65. The Star-Telegram reported that, at the time of his death, Hoover had been assisting as a priest at Holy Name Catholic Church in Fort Worth.
More victims came forward after his death, including a man whoreported being abused in a church sacristy at a rehearsal for acousin's wedding when he was 11.
At a meeting in July 2000, representatives from the Dallas Diocesetold Vicar General Joseph Schumacher that they had settled with threeor four Hoover accusers.
"They got them to accept cash, supposedly for counseling, amountingto an aggregate of some $70,000: $50,000 in one case, $15,000 inanother and then $5,000+ in the others."
As recently as September, a prayer Hoover wrote was still in prayer books at St. Patrick.
for a listing of alternate locations.