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  Former priest held on molest charges Fresno family therapist is accused of abusing preteens in mid-'60s.

By Louis Galvan
Fresno Bee (California)
February 28, 2003

The sign Thursday outside the northwest Fresno office of Donald Farmer, a former Southern California Catholic priest turned marriage and family counselor, reads, "Family Emergency, Appointments Cancelled."

The office was shut down Wednesday shortly after Farmer, who retired from the priesthood in 1969 and moved to Fresno, was arrested on suspicion of sexually molesting four preteen youths in San Bernardino County in the mid-1960s.

Cindy Beavers, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, said Farmer, 65, was arrested at work by Fresno County sheriff's deputies on a warrant for 14 counts of lewd and lascivious acts allegedly involving two boys and two girls, all of them younger than 13 at the time of the alleged offenses.

Bail was set at $100,000 and Farmer was expected to be transported to the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga today.

Beavers said Farmer is accused of molesting the children between 1966 and 1967 in a family-owned mountain cabin in the Lake Gregory area near Big Bear.

Beavers said Farmer reportedly became a trusted friend of the youths' parents and would get permission to take the youths to the cabin on outings.

The outings, she said, were not connected to any church-sponsored programs.

Beavers said none of the children reported the alleged offenses and that an investigation was not started until July, when one of the alleged male victims came forward and filed a complaint against Farmer.

The investigation, she said, led to the three other alleged victims.

Beavers said she is not aware of any other law enforcement investigation involving Farmer.

According to Beavers, Farmer was assigned as a priest at Holy Family Church in Glendale at the time of the alleged offenses.

After leaving the church, Farmer became a licensed marriage and family therapist.

His office for about the past year has been at a business complex at 5588 N. Palm Ave., across from Bullard High School, where he reportedly worked alone and where he was taken into custody.

A man who answered the door at Farmer's home in northwest Fresno shook his head and shut the door when a Fresno Bee reporter identified himself and asked for an interview.

 
 

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