Child-Molesting Priest Gets Jail - Victims' Mothers Criticize 30-Day Sentence; Faith in Church Also Shaken

By Nicole Foy
The Express-News
June 30, 1995

A Roman Catholic priest who was removed from a seminary teaching post after he was accused of having sexual contact with four of his students must spend 30 days in jail, a Bexar County district judge decided Thursday.

After serving the jail time, the Rev. Carlos Lozano, 38, will be placed on deferred adjudication - a form of probation - for 10 years.

Judge Mike Machado also ordered that Lozano pay a $1,000 fine and undergo counseling while under intense supervision.

Lozano, the former dean of men at St. Anthony's High School Seminary at 3200 McCullough Ave., pleaded no contest to four counts of indecency.

He was placed on administrative leave when four teen-age students at the school told police a spiritual adviser at the school had fondled their genitals on several occasions in fall 1993.

One also reported having oral sex with the priest. Two complainants were 16 years old and the other two were 17 years old at the time of the allegations.

A church spokesman said a decision regarding Lozano's future had not been made, pending his release from jail.

After his ruling, Machado allowed three mothers of the victims to confront Lozano in open court. Lozano, showing no emotion, looked directly at the women as they angrily accused him of shattering the lives of those in their families.

Cordelia Mendoza sobbed openly as she read from a letter that she had written to Lozano.

"You have robbed my son of the desires he had of becoming a priest," Mendoza said. "You took advantage of their innocence. You took advantage of the respect he had for you."

Mendoza's son, John Zuniga, now 19, also attended the hearing. Although he did not confront his former teacher, Zuniga said seeing Lozano filled him with rage.

"I've thought about this a lot, and the anger is still there," Zuniga said. "It will always be there."

As a bailiff led Lozano away in handcuffs, the judge told the women he hoped they would not let the case damage their beliefs in religion.

"He's human," Machado said of Lozano. "Please don't let him shatter your faith."

But after the hearing, Mendoza and another mother, Barbara Ann Garcia, said it was too late. Neither woman has attended church since the ordeal began.

"We're not angry at God, but why sit there in church as a hypocrite when your mind wanders every time you look at a priest?" Mendoza said.

The women said they also were upset that Lozano received 30 days in jail, instead of the 60 recommended by the district attorney's office.

But Lozano's attorney, Mark Stevens, said he considered the punishment "an extremely serious sanction."

Garcia disagreed.

"He has destroyed our lives and for that he gets only 30 days," Garcia said. "So don't even tell me that this (judicial) system looks out for us (victims). I don't feel that way at all."

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