A Colombian priest visiting California was arrested on Sunday after accusations of sexual misconduct were made by a 16-year-old girl.
The priest has been arrested on charges of molestation of a minor, sexual battery and illegal entry.
The alleged misconduct occurred during a visit by Father Julio Guarin-Sosa to a parish in Yuba City, California, where the priest had been invited to the home of a local family to perform a “private mass.”
According to Guarin-Sosa, while in the home, the family asked him to have a word with their 16-year-old daughter in private. The two went into a bedroom where, according to a local media interview with the priest, “they held hands in prayer … as he was leaving he hugged her and kissed her on the side of her cheek.”
The priest told reporters that the girl looked uncomfortable and so he told her not to tell her parents about the incident.
Police allege that the priest “French-kissed” the minor, an allegation which Guarin-Sosa denies.
“I never tried to do nothing sexual with her,” said Guarin-Sosa.
Local church parishioners are reportedly divided on the issue, some believing the incident to be a misunderstanding, while others have expressed a more skeptical viewpoint.
The Diocese of Stockton, which operates in the local area, has reportedly suspended the priest from serving in their ministry and also reported the incident to Guarin-Sosa’s diocese in Colombia.
- Visiting Colombia priest arrested in Yuba City on 2 sex charges (ABC 10 News)
- Sex allegations put Colombian priest in Calif. jail (U-T San Diego)