The attorney representing a teenager who was the target of an alleged murder-for-hire plot hatched by a Catholic priest said Tuesday his client is relieved that man is once again behind bars.
Father John Fiala, 52, was arrested last week in Dallas County after he was caught on tape by investigators trying to hire a hit man to kill the teen who's accused Fiala of sexual abuse.
Attorney Tom Rhodes said as shocking as the allegations may seem, he was not surprised Fiala had tried to hire someone to kill his client because the teen claimed the priest had threatened his life multiple times in the past.
"My client has been saying for years this man is going to do something to me and it bore out to be true," Rhodes said. "He tried to do something, and thank God the police were able to apprehend him and we believe there's very powerful evidence against him."
Last week, investigators with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers set up a meeting with Fiala at his home in Garland. During that meeting, investigators said Fiala tried to hire an undercover officer to kill the teen for $5,000.
Fiala was already out on bond and under indictment in two Texas Counties for sexually assaulting the unnamed teen. In one alleged incident, Fiala is accused of raping the teen at gunpoint in an Edwards County hotel room.
Fiala's murder-for-hire scheme unraveled when a neighbor contacted police telling them Fiala tried to hire him to kill the young man.
With Fiala behind bars again, Rhodes said his client is hopeful this will be the last time he has to worry about the priest harming him.
"He is relieved but he's also cautious about it. He's been through a lot. He's a courageous young man and he intends to carry his fight forward to stop this from happening to other children," Rhodes said.
Rhodes is suing the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska, the Archdiocese of San Antonio and Fiala's religious order, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.
Rhodes claims all three groups had knowledge of Fiala's history of abuse and failed to do anything to stop it. Rhodes said there are records indicating victims made allegations about Fiala as far back as 1988 when he was working in Nebraska.
"This pattern has gone on for many many decades in this country and it's wrong and it needs to stop. You can't just move these people who are sick and predatory from parish to parish and allow them to take their liberties and hurt the youngest, most vulnerable members of our society," Rhodes said. "We believe he is a danger to society. He's confirmed that now and he needs to be put away forever."
The San Antonio Archdiocese has said they removed Fiala from active ministry in 2008 as soon as they became aware of the allegations against him.
Fiala is currently being held on a $700,000 bond in the Dallas County jail.