Police execute search warrant at Texas Catholic Diocese

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DALLAS (AP) Police blocked entryways and restricted access to the Catholic Diocese of Dallas Wednesday as they searched the offices in a sexual abuse investigation.

(CNN VAN photo)

Authorities executed a search warrant Wednesday, but have not indicated the purpose of the search.

WFAA-TV obtained a copy of the warrant, which says investigators are seeking information on five men on allegations they sexually assaulted children.

Authorities say a police investigation that began last year into sexual abuse allegations against a former priest uncovered abuse claims against others, leading to a decision to search the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.

Police Maj. Max Geron told reporters Wednesday that the diocese headquarters, a storage building and the offices of a church were being searched.

Geron says the events began last August with the investigation of Edmundo Paredes, a former priest who is believed to have fled Texas following claims that he abused three teenagers.

Geron says that investigation resulted in allegations of abuse committed by at least five others. It wasn't immediately clear if the others are all current or former priests with the Dallas diocese.

He says the execution of the search warrants "was wholly appropriate for the furtherance of the investigation at this point."

A diocese spokeswoman told WFAA that the diocese has been cooperating with investigators and is surprised by the search.

The police action follows the decision in January by 14 Catholic dioceses in Texas to release the names of nearly 300 former priests and others accused of sexually abusing children.