Grand Jury Indicts Ex-Deacon
Ex-Church Official Charged with Indecency with a Chil
By Rick Storm
August 1, 2002
HEREFORD - A former Hereford Catholic deacon turned himself in to Deaf Smith County authorities and posted a $3,000 bond Wednesday evening after a county grand jury Tuesday handed up an indictment charging him with three counts of indecency with a child.
Jesse Guerrero, if convicted, faces two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000 on each count, District Attorney Roland Saul said.
The three indecency charges involved three children, Saul said, and all three of the alleged incidents occurred in Hereford between the summer of 2001 and March of this year.
Guerrero, 54, had been a deacon for the Diocese of Amarillo since 1989 and had served as a deacon at San Jose Church in Hereford and John Nepomucene in Hart before being placed on administrative leave of absence in June, according to a diocese news release. The action was taken after Hereford authorities informed the diocese that a complaint had been filed.
"We are deeply saddened by the revelation that Deacon Jesse Guerrero of Hereford has been indicted for indecency with a child. Based on that information, Deacon Guerrero was placed on administrative leave and will remain on administrative leave," Monsignor Harold Waldow, vicar of clergy and moderator of curia for the Diocese of Amarillo said in the news release.
The diocese does not know the facts surrounding the investigation and does not want to interfere in the investigation, Waldow said.
"Since we do not know the facts, we have made no judgment thereon," he said.
The diocese will reach out to anyone victimized by incidents of sexual abuse, Waldow said.
"It is the policy of the Diocese of Amarillo to offer counseling and pastoral assistance to any person or family that has been a victim of sexual abuse by any member of the clergy, and we are prepared to do so," Waldow said.
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