Accused Priest Takes Lie Test, Lawyer Says: Inadmissible: a Prosecutor Says the Defense's Tactic Will Not Affect Her Case.

By Maria T. Garcia
Press Enterprise (Riverside, CA)
May 22, 2002


A Fontana priest who is accused of fondling two teen-age sisters volunteered for and passed two polygraph tests that his attorney said clear him of the accusations.

The Rev. Honesto Bismonte, 72, offered to take the lie-detector tests because he wanted to clear his name, said his attorney, Phil Kassel, during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. Kassel read a statement and declined to answer questions.

Briye McCann, a deputy district attorney handling the Bismonte case, said she did not know the priest had taken the tests until Tuesday when she received calls from reporters.

"Hearing that he passed a polygraph test in no way changes the way I will proceed with this case," McCann said. "The jury needs to decide this case."

Bismonte is scheduled to be arraigned June 6 on three counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 and one count of lewd acts on a 14- or 15-year-old child. He is on leave from his post as associate pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Pomona.

He was arrested in late April after police alleged he had fondled two Rialto sisters over a four-year period at a home he had shared with their aunt. Bismonte was released after posting $ 200,000 bail.

Kassel said the polygraph tests were administered by independent polygrapher Tom Dorsey, who also works for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Kassel declined to say how much Dorsey was paid to give Bismonte the tests.

In California, polygraph test results are not admissible in court because they are not considered reliable.

During a polygraph test, an examiner measures heart rate, blood pressure and other body changes to determine whether the subject is

telling the truth.


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