The Facebook post from last October shows a smiling retired-age man floating next to a dolphin named Miracle in the beautiful turquoise waters of the Caribbean.
In another photo, the same man, dressed in a stylish black suit, poses with a cruise ship captain, celebrating “cruise number 25 and counting.”
“A good time was had by all,” the caption read.
Such is the present-day life of Richard Edelin, 65, a former Catholic priest named by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston as credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor.
When Cardinal Daniel DiNardo released the list of 40 priests credibly accused Thursday, he did not disclose any details about what he called “heinous acts” that occurred 70 years.
A KHOU 11 Investigates review of court records, news articles and postings from the watchdog group BishopAccountability.org reveals the sordid details of abuse, and in some cases, a lack of action by the Catholic Church.
In Edelin’s case, he was accused in 1996 of repeatedly groping a girl in the early 1980s in church offices, confessional and on retreats. He denied those allegations, according to the Houston Chronicle. But the archdiocese paid his accuser $5,000 for counseling and promised he would not serve as a priest until it had assurances “he poses no danger to young people or others.”
In 2004, the archdiocese announced Edelin would join St. Laurence Church in Sugar Land, but then backtracked after his accuser complained. Years later, Edelin surfaced at a parish in the state of Oregon, before he was removed from public ministry in 2013.
Despite that sanction, Edelin still refers himself as “Father” on his Facebook page. He did not return phone calls and e-mails today seeking comment.
The credibly accused list also includes at least four priests with criminal convictions.
Donald Stavinoha was caught in a sex act with a 9-year-old boy in a church van in 1986. The church removed him from ministry the same year. In 1988, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a 10-year prison term.
According to BishopAccountability.org, Walter Salisbury was convicted not once, but twice.
In 1978, he was charged in Harris County for indecency with a child and pleaded no contest. The church kept him in ministry and he was later transferred to a parish in Washington D.C.
In 1993, he pleaded guilty to “indecent sexual acts” with a minor.
At least six priests on the list were sued in civil court: Fernando Noe Guzman, Antonio Gonzalez, Jesse Linam, Lawrence Peguero, Dennis Peterson and Robert Ramon.
The allegations from victims in those cases range from getting a teenage girl pregnant to supplying children with drugs and alcohol as a pathway to abuse. One lawsuit claimed there were numerous victims by the same priest.
The only priest on the list the archdiocese had previously made public was Stephen Horn, the former pastor of Christ The King Parish. Horn did not return e-mails seeking comment.
DiNardo removed the priest from ministry in 2008, shortly after his accuser came forward alleging abuse that occurred in the early 1990s.
“This is a very sad occasion for us,” DiNardo told reporters at a January 2008 news conference. “There was evidence, credible evidence of sexual abuse of a minor.”
Like Edelin, Horn also has appeared to move on.
From Facebook to YouTube, he plays keyboard in jazz and country bands at various local bars and neighborhood festivals.