Priest Charged with Molesting Boy
Ralph R. Ortega, Barbara Ross and Richard Weir

Daily News (New York)
September 20, 2002

A Catholic priest who celebrated charismatic Masses at an upper Manhattan church was charged yesterday with molesting an altar boy after a service, police said.

The Rev. Jorge (Patricio) Pintado, 39, was nabbed by special victims squad cops as he returned to his Queens apartment about 1 a.m. yesterday, cops said.

Pintado is accused of fondling the 16-year-old boy in the rectory of the Good Shepherd Catholic Church on Isham St. in Inwood about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, cops said.

"He gave him a hug and then reached down and grabbed him," a police source said.

Another source said that after the boy's parents contacted cops, police set up a sting operation in which the youth telephoned Pintado. The priest made incriminating statements, which were captured on audiotape, the source said.

Authorities said Pintado had embraced the boy previously as an expression of charismatic Christianity, which involves seeking an ecstatic religious experience.

But the youth had grown increasingly wary of being touched by the priest, authorities said.

"There was a difference in the hugs starting in June. He began to be uncomfortable with them," another law enforcement source said.

Police charged Pintado with sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, said Pintado "did not have permission from the archdiocese to be at the Church of the Good Shepherd."

He said Pintado's last official assignment was at St. Joan of Arc Church in the Bronx, beginning in January 2000. It ended 10 months later when Pintado left after writing a letter citing health reasons.

The allegations shocked parishioners and fellow priests at Good Shepherd, where they said Pintado had been serving part-time for more than three years, saying Mass in Spanish.

"This is really, really sad news," said the Rev. Marcos Zamora, the church pastor.

Zamora said Pintado, who is from Ecuador, has been in New York for nearly 10 years.

"He's so well liked, people would ask for him at functions and Baptisms," Zamora said.

Pintado has shared a ground-floor apartment for more than three years with a married couple, Alexia Velez and Marco Hermida, and their two young children on 94th St. in Elmhurst, Queens.

Velez, 20, said the priest often brought people back to the apartment where he counseled them beneath a picture of Pope John Paul.

"I never had a problem with him. He loved my children," Velez said.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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