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Sexual abuse lawsuit against Austin priest has been settled

Six women previously sued members of the St. Thomas More Catholic Church in northwest Austin, claiming a priest made inappropriate advances.

AUSTIN, Texas — A lawsuit filed by six women claiming they were sexually abused at St. Thomas More Catholic Church on FM 620 has been settled, according to a lawyer representing the women.

The lawsuit stated that Father Isidore Ndagizimana acted inappropriately toward them on many occasions, including unwanted touching and sexual advances. The women said that when they reported it to the diocese, the diocese said the priest was sen to four months of therapy in Houston and was healed. 

One incident claims Father Ndagizimana rubbed a victim’s upper thigh while she confessed, and that he made her discuss private sexual activity with her husband. That woman was pregnant.

Another incident described in the lawsuit claims Father Ndagizimana isolated a woman in the confessional, stroked and hugged her, then stood in front of her forcing her head into his groin area with both of his hands. He also allegedly made unwanted and uninvited visits to their homes while their husbands were away.

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The suit also claims the women were told that they should not take legal action against Ndagizimana and that if they trusted the diocese "and had patience, the diocese would provide healing and restitution for the victims."

He eventually moved to a parish in Brenham, Texas, the suit states. He was reportedly with the northwest Austin church since 2012.

The women told KVUE in January that when they learned he was assigned to the church in Brenham, they decided to take legal action as a last resort.

KVUE previously reported that the women were seeking $1 million in damages. However, their settlement amount has not been released.

“I can confirm that the lawsuit and claims by these brave, wonderful women were mediated and resolved," said lawyer Howry Breen. "I am so proud of and happy for each one of them and so grateful for our system of justice and the right to a jury trial.”

RELATED: 'He groped us during confession' | Austin women speak out after accusing Catholic priest of sexual abuse

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