The Archdiocese of San Antonio.
The Archdiocese of San Antonio. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

A priest at the St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Canyon Lake was stripped of his authority after a formal review found a claim of sexual abuse against him credible.

The abuse survivor filed a claim against Rev. Edward Pavlicek to the Archdiocese of San Antonio’s victim assistance office on Aug. 29. The survivor said the abuse happened between 1986 and 1988. Pavlicek, who has worked in several churches in San Antonio and surrounding areas, started serving at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish on July 1. 

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller on Friday removed Pavlicek’s authorization to perform sacraments and other priestly duties for the Catholic Church. And the Archdiocese of San Antonio is reaching out to parishioners at St. Thomas and Pavlicek’s other employers for further information. 

The Archdiocese told the Bexar County District Attorney’s Special Crimes Division of the claim on Aug. 30, according to a Friday press release. District Attorney Nico LaHood said that the assault reported to his office was against an 11-year-old child in the late 1980s, when the statue of limitations for sexual assault of a child only allowed prosecution until the victim turned 28.

“Unfortunately, since over 30 years have passed since the offense is alleged to have occurred, the District Attorney’s Office is not allowed, by law, to investigate and prosecute this allegation,” LaHood said in a statement Friday.

After the claim was filed with the Archdiocese, García-Siller opened an investigation and removed Pavlicek from the ministry while it was being conducted. The independent review board, which was established earlier this month by García-Siller, finished its investigation on Thursday and advised the archbishop Friday the evidence was strong enough to support the abuse claim. The review board suggested Pavlicek be stripped of his clerical authority and the claim reported to the Vatican.

This is the first allegation of child sexual abuse involving Pavlicek the Archdiocese had received, according to the press release.

“Archbishop Gustavo would like to publicly express his gratitude to the survivor for bravely coming forward and helping the Archdiocese by sharing these deeply personal and painful experiences,” the release stated. “He hopes that this will also assist the healing process, and provide inspiration to other survivors of sexual abuse to report to the authorities these tragic incidents.”

The press release also encouraged victims to report crimes to the police, and call the Archdiocese’s victim assistance office at (210) 734-7786.

Pavlicek formally held other posts in the area, including as pastor at Church of the Good Shepherd in Schertz, St. Mary Parish in Somerset, and St. Benedict Church in San Antonio. He also served at Sacred Heart Church in Floresville, St. Leo the Great Church in San Antonio, and St. Ann’s Church in San Antonio.

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.