Apr 30, 2024 - News

👀 Phone sex, drugs and illegal searches

A man holding a bible

Bishop Michael Olson of the Diocese of Fort Worth is accused of overstepping his authority when he investigated a report that a nun broke her chastity vow. Photo: Amanda McCoy/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Discalced Carmelite Nuns spend most of their time secluded from the public, even during mass. They don't grant media interviews. They devote their lives to prayer.

Flashback: The order was established in 1958 with just a handful of nuns. The group moved to Arlington after they were given 56 acres.

  • They dedicated their Arlington chapel in 1985.

Catch up fast: Gerlach was undergoing cancer treatment in 2022 when she befriended a priest in Montana who also had cancer. She confided in another nun and then a senior priest at the Fort Worth diocese that she feared they had become too close, per Texas Monthly.

  • Father Jonathan Wallis, who is now vicar general at the diocese, told the bishop about the conversation.
  • Olson later questioned Gerlach and confiscated devices from the monastery. He told her she would be put on administrative leave during a canonical investigation of the matter, per the Star-Telegram.
  • Olson then made the allegations public, alleging Gerlach had told him she was "sexting" with a priest on the phone. She denied it.

Context: Gerlach had undergone a medical procedure before one of the bishop's visits to the monastery in April 2023 and was groggy from anesthesia and painkillers. He insisted on questioning her anyway.

  • The diocese also publicly claimed there was drug use at the monastery, which a lawyer for the order has denied.

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