Texas Priest Arrested Over Allegations of Inappropriate Contact With Minors

Father Mata’s bonds were set at $75,000 and $100,000, the police department said.

Father Ricardo Mata.
Father Ricardo Mata. (photo: Garland Police Department)

Police in Texas this week announced the arrest of a priest with the Diocese of Dallas over allegations of inappropriate contact with two minors. 

The Garland Police Department said on its Facebook page that officers had arrested Father Ricardo Mata on Monday “on two counts of indecency with a child, a second-degree felony.”

“The allegations are based on reports of inappropriate contact with two juvenile victims, which occurred during a visit to a residence in Garland,” the police said. Investigators are in contact with the Diocese of Dallas, the police said. 

Father Mata’s bonds were set at $75,000 and $100,000, the police department said. 

In a Tuesday statement on its website, meanwhile, the Diocese of Dallas said that it had been “recently made aware of an allegation by a juvenile girl of inappropriate touching involving a priest.”

“Upon learning of the allegation last week, diocesan officials immediately filed a report with Child Protective Services and law enforcement,” the diocese said.

Father Mata “was immediately removed from all public ministry when the Diocese of Dallas learned of the allegation,” the statement continued. 

“We are grateful for law enforcement’s thorough response,” Dallas Bishop Edward Burns said in the statement. 

“Let us come together in prayer, respecting the dignity of all involved, seeking strength and guidance from our faith during this challenging time.”

Until recently Father Mata had been listed as the vicar at the Dallas-area Cathedral Guadalupe. That listing had been removed from the cathedral’s website as of Wednesday.

The priest was born in Mexico and raised in Dallas; he was ordained in 2022.