was an LDS ward religious and missionary class leader in the Brownsville, Texas area; in 2011, was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy; the victim, as an adult, filed a lawsuit against the LDS church and won

Case Summary

Eustacio Munioz was alleged to have sexually assaulted a 14 year old boy. The victim, now an adult, filed a lawsuit against the LDS church and won the case. The church appealed.

from the Brownsville Herald on October 18, 2011:

“Two more people have accused a man — reportedly a church youth group leader — of sexual assault, Brownsville Police spokesman Jose Trevino said.

Eustacio Munioz, 65, also known as Horacio Muniz, was arrested last week and charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. Trevino said at the time that a man, now 22, filed a report that alleged that Munioz began sexually assaulting him in 2003 when he was a minor.

Munioz was in charge of religious and missionary classes at a local Mormon church, according to the affidavit for warrant of arrest.

Trevino said police are still investigating the allegations of the two additional complainants and declined to release information about the cases. Munioz is not facing any new charges.

“Police believe there are more victims, and are asking anyone with information to please come forward,” Trevino said last week.

The first man who came forward told police he was 7 years old when he met Munioz at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 114 E. Price Road, the affidavit said. The man said Munioz first abused him at a room in the church when he was 14 years old. The warrant said Munioz gave him $5 and told him not to tell anyone.

The man told police the abuse continued until he was 20 years old, according to the affidavit. Munioz threatened to report that the alleged victim was in the country illegally if he didn’t cooperate, the document said.

A spokesman for the Mormon church in Salt Lake City said in a statement that church leaders are still trying to learn about the reports.

“At this point, very little is known about this case, including whether this individual was a member of the church. We will continue to cooperate with local law enforcement officials as they investigate this matter,” said Eric Hawkins, a media relations official for the church.

Hawkins said the church has zero tolerance for abuse.

“[The church] works diligently to prevent abuse and provide support and assistance to victims of abuse,” he said.”

Sources
  1. MORE ACCUSATIONS: Youth group leader faces additional claims of sexual assault
    view source details | 18 Oct 2011 | Brownsville Herald
  2. the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. John Doe, 13-13-00463-CV (Tex. App. 2013)
    view source details | 16 May 2023 | Court Listener
  3. Munioz, Eustacio
    view source details | 16 May 2023 | The Texas Public Sex Offender Website - Texas Department of Public Safety
Sources excerpts
  • MORE ACCUSATIONS: Youth group leader faces additional claims of sexual assault
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Brownsville Herald
    Date published/accessed: 18 Oct 2011
    archive 1 | archive 2
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    --

    from the Court of Appeals of Texas, filed October 10, 2013:

    " NUMBER 13-13-00463-CV

    COURT OF APPEALS

    THIRTEENTH DISTRICT OF TEXAS

    CORPUS CHRISTI - EDINBURG

    THE CORPORATION OF THE PRESIDENT
    OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF
    LATTER-DAY SAINTS, THE CHURCH OF
    JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS,
    AND THE CORPORATION OF THE
    PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF
    JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, Appellants,

    v.

    JOHN DOE, Appellee.

    On petition for permissive appeal from the
    103rd District Court of Cameron County, Texas.

    MEMORANDUM OPINION

    Before Chief Justice Valdez and Justices Rodriguez and Garza
    Memorandum Opinion Per Curiam
    Appellants, the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of

    Latter-day Saints, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Corporation of

    the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (collectively, the

    Church), have filed a petition seeking permission to appeal an interlocutory order. See

    TEX. R. APP. P. 28.3(a) (requiring a party seeking to pursue a permissive appeal of an

    interlocutory order to petition the court of appeals for permission to appeal). We deny

    permission to appeal.

    I. BACKGROUND

    In his original petition, Doe asserted that Eustacio Munioz sexually assaulted him

    on numerous occasions from 2002, when he was fourteen years old, through 2009, when

    he was twenty-one. Doe alleged that Munioz committed an intentional tort and that the

    Church was vicariously liability for the acts of Munioz, who Doe claimed was the Church’s

    employee or agent at that time. Doe alleged that the Church was directly liable for,

    among other things, negligently hiring, training, retaining, and supervising Munioz when

    they knew or should have known of his dangerous propensities. Doe also claimed in his

    first amended petition that Munioz coerced and threatened him with reports of criminal

    prosecution if he reported the assaults or otherwise made a claim.

    The Church filed a traditional motion for summary judgment.1 In its motion, the

    Church contended that Doe’s claims were time-barred by the applicable statute of

    limitations. Doe filed his response, asserting that there were fact issues and that the

    continuing tort doctrine and duress tolled limitations. After the trial court heard the

    1
    The Church, not Munioz, filed the motion for summary judgment, and Munioz is not a party to the
    Church’s petition for permissive appeal.

    2
    motion and received additional briefing regarding the tolling doctrines, the trial court

    generally denied the Church’s motion for summary judgment.

    Upon the Church’s request that the trial court allow it to file a petition for permissive

    appeal, the trial court signed an amended order. The order again denied the Church’s

    motion without providing a basis for the trial court’s ruling. It set out the statutory

    language of section 51.014(d) and rule 168 and noted the following controlling question of

    law: “Are the Church Defendants entitled to summary judgment on their statute of

    limitations defense?” The Church timely filed its petition for permissive appeal in this

    Court. See TEX. R. APP. P. 28.3.

    In its petition now before this Court, the Church contends that the following

    controlling questions of law are involved in its request for permission to appeal: (1)

    whether Doe’s claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations; and (2) whether

    the tolling theories asserted are legally applicable. In response to the Church’s petition,

    Doe contends that the trial court correctly denied the Church’s motion for summary

    judgment because there are fact issues that prevented the trial court from granting the

    motion.

    II. THE LAW

    Section 51.014(d), (e), and (f) of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code,

    Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 168, and Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 28.3

    delineate the procedure for filing a permissive appeal. Section 51.014(d) provides that a

    trial court may permit an appeal from an interlocutory order that would not otherwise be

    appealable “if the order involves a controlling question of law as to which there is a

    substantial ground for difference of opinion” and “an immediate appeal from the order
    3
    may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation.” TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM.

    CODE ANN. § 51.014(d) (West Supp. 2011). We strictly construe section 51.014, which

    provides for an interlocutory appeal as an exception to the general rule that only final

    judgments are appealable. See City of Houston v. Estate of Jones,

    388 S.W.3d 663

    , 666

    (Tex. 2012) (per curiam); Tex. A & M Univ. Sys. v. Koseoglu,

    233 S.W.3d 835

    , 841 (Tex.

    2007); see also King-A Corp. v. Wehling, No. 13-13-00100-CV,

    2013 WL 1092209

    , at *3

    (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi Mar. 14, 2013, no pet.) (mem. op.) (per curiam).

    The petition for permissive appeal must contain a clear and concise argument

    regarding why the order to be appealed meets the requirements of section 51.014. See

    TEX. R. APP. P. 28.3; see also TEX. RULE CIV. P. 168. And the requesting party must

    establish that: (1) the order subject to appeal involves “a controlling question of law as to

    which there is a substantial ground for difference of opinion”; and (2) an immediate appeal

    “may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation.” TEX. R. APP. P. 28.3;

    see TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE ANN. § 51.014(d); TEX. R. CIV. P. 168; see also Gulley v.

    State Farm Lloyds,

    350 S.W.3d 204

    , 207–08 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2011, no pet.)

    (refusing a request for permission to appeal under the former version of section 51.014(d)

    because the trial court declined to make a substantive ruling on the controlling legal issue

    being appealed).2

    2
    When the Legislature rewrote section 51.014(d), it eliminated the prior requirement that the
    parties agree to the appeal and reinstated a requirement that the court of appeals also permit the appeal.
    See Act of May 25, 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., ch. 203, §§ 3.01, 6.01 [HB 274]. Because the relevant
    requirements for appeals under this section did not change, we find Gulley v. State Farm Lloyds and other
    cases discussing the former statute to be instructive. See

    350 S.W.3d 204

    , 207–08 (Tex. App.—San
    Antonio 2011, no pet.).

    In Gulley, the San Antonio Court explained that “[t]he legislature's institution of the procedure
    authorizing a trial court to certify an immediate appeal of an interlocutory order was premised on the trial
    court having first made a substantive ruling on the controlling legal issue being appealed.” Id It also cited
    4
    III. DISCUSSION

    Based on our review of the petition, the response, and the reply, we conclude that

    the Church has failed to establish that this case presents a controlling question of law.

    See TEX. R. APP. P. 28.3. Although the trial court’s order attempts to identify the

    controlling question as whether the Church is “entitled to summary judgment on [its]

    statute of limitations defense,” we do not know the basis for the trial court’s denial of the

    Church’s motion for summary judgment. The trial court could have denied the Church’s

    motion on any of the following: (1) the applicable statute of limitations did not bar Doe’s

    claims; (2) duress tolled the statute of limitations; (3) the continuing-tort doctrine tolled the

    statute of limitations; or (4) material fact issues prevented the court from granting the

    motion. Without a substantive ruling by the trial court as to why it denied the Church’s

    motion, no controlling question of law has been presented for our analysis. See

    Gulley,

    350 S.W.3d at 207

    –08; see also Colonial County Mut. Ins. Co. v. Amaya,

    372 S.W.3d

    308

    , 310–11 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2012, no pet.) (supporting the proposition that the trial

    the following cases to “illustrate the intended use of [predecessor] section 51.014(d) in situations where the
    trial court has made a substantive ruling on a pivotal issue of law”: Enterprise Prod. Partners, L.P. v.
    Mitchell,

    340 S.W.3d 476

    , 479 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2011, pet. abated and cause subsequently
    dismissed) (op. on reh’g) (reviewing a trial court’s order that ruled Texas, not Mississippi, law applied to the
    plaintiff’s claims and that certified the order for an interlocutory appeal on this choice of law question);
    Comcast Cable of Plano, Inc. v. City of Plano,

    315 S.W.3d 673

    , 675 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2010, no pet.)
    (determining whether the city's claim for breach of a franchise agreement was preempted by federal law as
    the controlling question of law, after the trial court denied Comcast's summary judgment motion based on
    preemption); Kimbrell v. Molinet,

    288 S.W.3d 464

    , 465–66 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2008), aff'd,

    356
    S.W.3d 407

    (Tex. 2011) (addressing the denial of a summary judgment motion which asserted that a
    physician-defendant's joinder in a medical malpractice case was barred by limitations and determining the
    controlling question of law to be which statute of limitations applied); Northside Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Dubose,
    No. 04–06–00517–CV,

    2007 WL 1481661

    , at *1 (Tex. App.—San Antonio May 23, 2007, no pet.) (mem.
    op.) (holding by trial court on cross-motions for summary judgment that the school district had waived its
    right to contest compensability of the employee's workers' compensation claim and identifying the issue of
    waiver as the controlling question in an agreed interlocutory appeal); Stolte v. County of Guadalupe, No.
    04–04–00083–CV,

    2004 WL 2597443

    , at *1 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2004, no pet.) (reviewing an
    interlocutory appeal where the controlling question was whether the county had inherent authority to reject
    a plat application in the interest of public health).

    Gulley, 350 S.W.3d at 207

    –08.

    5
    court must make a substantive ruling on the controlling question of law that is the subject

    of the interlocutory appeal before the court of appeals has jurisdiction over the appeal);

    State Fair of Tex. v. Iron Mountain Information Management, Inc.,

    299 S.W.3d 261

    ,

    263–64 (Tex. App.—Dallas, no pet. 2009) (same); Diamond Prods. Int'l v. Handsel,

    142

    S.W.3d 491

    , 494 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2004, no pet.) (“The statute does not

    contemplate permissive appeals of summary judgments where the facts are in dispute.”).

    We have thoroughly reviewed the petition, the response, the reply, and supporting

    documents submitted both by the Church and Doe. Given the limited nature of

    interlocutory appeals and the requirement that we construe statutes authorizing such

    appeals strictly, we conclude that the Church has not satisfied the statutory requirements

    of section 51.014(d). See City of

    Houston, 388 S.W.3d at 666

    .

    IV. CONCLUSION

    Accordingly, we deny the Church’s petition for permissive appeal.

    PER CURIAM

    Delivered and filed the 10th
    day of October, 2013."

  • back to online sources list
    Munioz, Eustacio
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: The Texas Public Sex Offender Website - Texas Department of Public Safety
    Date published/accessed: 16 May 2023
    archive 1 | archive 2

Mormon Sexual Abuse Map

International map of locations where active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints perpetrated or allegedly perpetrated sexual abuse or other sex crimes, or where LDS leaders failed or allegedly failed to help abuse survivors.