Mexican priest arrested for sexually abusing boys

January 14th, 2009 - 2:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Veracruz (Mexico), Jan 14 (IANS) The police in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz arrested a Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing boys at a church-run residential facility, EFE news agency reported Wednesday.The Rev. Jose de Jesus Sandoval Gonzalez was detained in Veracruz city, the state Attorney General’s Office said.

Authorities said the police were still looking for a nun accused of acting as Gonzalez’s accomplice.

The priest’s arrest came hours after the mayor of the town, where the alleged crimes took place, held a press conference to complain that prosecutors had failed to act on the criminal complaint of the Boca del Rio municipal government filed in mid-December.

State Judge Beatriz Rivera late Monday acceded to a request from prosecutors to issue warrants for the arrest of Gonzalez and Sister Maria Guadalupe Zaragoza Barajas.

Mayor Miguel Angel Yunes Marquez told reporters Monday that the municipal government had received complaints from boys who said they were mistreated and subjected to sexual abuse by the priest with the connivance of Barajas.

According to Yunes, the mothers of two alleged victims said the nun accepted payments of 500 pesos ($36.20) to take boys to the house of the priest, where he then abused them.

Any boy who dared to mention what happened at the house were punished by making them eat hot peppers or spoiled food, or they were forced to kneel in the yard for four hours in the sun or on top of metal bottle caps and sleep with dogs all night or out in the open air.

The mayor presented videotapes of the testimony of several boys who were rescued from the church-run institution and who are now being taken care of by the municipal family services agency.

Yunes said that the city hall presented the criminal complaint Dec 15 but decided to go public with the matter because prosecutors have dragged their feet.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Veracruz said on television Tuesday that “if there was a crime”, the law should be applied against whoever turns out to be responsible.

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