Former Priest Sentenced to 30 years for Sexual Assault While Serving 60 years In  Murder-For-Hire Plot

One of our previous cases was in the news again this week. Former Catholic priest John Fiala was sentenced on Tuesday, December 2, 2014  to 30 years in prison for having sexually abused a teenage boy, his own parishioner, my former client.  Fiala is already serving 60 years for solicitation of capital murder of this same victim, who stood committed to testifying against him.

At the time of the relevant assaults, Fiala was assigned as Pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary Church in Rocksprings, Texas. His other assignments included Beeville, Robstown, Harper, Camp Wood, Leakey, and San Antonio. Before being transferred to Texas, Fiala worked as a priest in the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska.

My office represented Fiala’s victim in a civil case filed on April 8, 2010  in Bexar county, Texas  against the Archdiocese of San Antonio and the Archdiocese of Omaha.  The lawsuit against these Church entities was settled in 2011 shortly after an informant notified me that a priest named “Fiala” was apparently serious about killing the boy he had sexually abused and had asked him to arrange the killing. I immediately informed law enforcement, who arrested him in a sting operation.  The “gunman” Fiala “hired” was an undercover officer.,,20467564,00.html

By filing the civil case and pressing criminal charges against wrongdoers such as Fiala, victims like my client can more nearly achieve justice. The courage of my client  may well have prevented countless other children from being abused his predator.  This civil case encouraged other victims and witnesses to come forward, not just to help, but to find their own measure of closure.

The Law Office of Tahira Khan Merritt exclusively represents victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault. We stand ready to help you with your legal needs. If you were sexually assaulted or sexually abused, our law firm can help explain your legal remedies.  For almost twenty years, we have represented victims of sex crimes in civil cases against institutions, including colleges and universities, religious organizations, such as the Catholic church, Baptist church, Greek Orthodox church, Episcopal Church, and Presbyterian church among others. We have also represented victims of sexual abuse in schools,  youth sports organizations,  youth camps, daycares, scouting and the like. You may confidentially contact our office at 214-503-7300 or through our website : You can also become a fan of our firm on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We post articles and other information helpful to survivors, including current media on abuse cases nationwide, wellness, self-care and other  mental health news.






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