|Fugitive Ex-Priest Thought to Be in Mexico
Sex Abuse: the Man Is Accused of Molesting Two Boys in the Late 1980s in Perris and Coachella
By Michael Fisher
The Press-Enterprise [California]
February 8, 2006
A former Inland priest who served as a bishop's aide remains a fugitive more than a year after prosecutors charged him with molesting two teenage boys at Catholic churches in Perris and Coachella during the 1980s.
Jesus Armando Dominguez, 56, is believed to have fled to Mexico shortly before Riverside County prosecutors charged him in January 2005 with 58 counts of unlawful oral copulation, sexual penetration and sodomy, authorities said. A conviction on all charges could carry a prison sentence of 43 years.
"Mexico is a big place. If you don't have a fairly exact location, there's not a whole lot the Mexican authorities can do to help," said Deputy District Attorney Jeanne Roy, who runs the fugitive apprehension unit. "We have talked to everybody that we can locate who might have information, and no one has said he's in 'fill in the blank.' They either don't know or they are not sharing that information with us."
Dominguez was profiled on the Fox network's "America's Most Wanted" last year, but the brief segment generated only a few calls to investigators. None of the tips proved useful, Roy said.
"He is a priority because these are very serious offenses. We would very much like to have him back in the United States to prosecute him," Roy said.
Roy declined to discuss specifics about the ongoing search for Dominguez.
The Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the San Bernardino Diocese, said diocesan officials have not had any contact with Dominguez.
"We have turned over our (personnel) file to the district attorney's office and continue to cooperate fully with the investigation," Lincoln said.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about Dominguez's whereabouts to call district attorney's Investigator Lodric Clark at (951) 955-5400.
Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, Dominguez worked in the San Bernardino Diocese from 1978 to 1993, including a stint as the personal aide to Bishop Phillip F. Straling, who led Inland Catholics for 17 years as the diocese's first bishop.
Dominguez is charged with abusing altar boys in 1988 and 1989 at Our Lady of Soledad Church in Coachella and St. James Church in Perris.
One accuser told investigators that he was a 14 when the priest began molesting him at Our Lady of Soledad Church. The man alleges that the abuse continued after Dominguez was assigned to St. James Church and that the priest photographed him engaging in sex acts with another teen, according to court documents.
Dominguez 's second accuser said that he was a 13-year-old altar boy when Dominguez began sexually abusing him at Our Lady of Soledad and that the abuse continued at St. James Church, according to the documents.
Six men have sued the San Bernardino Diocese and the Los Angeles Archdiocese, claiming Dominguez molested them in the 1970s and '80s.
Dominguez voluntarily left the priesthood in 2000.
A year later, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of child annoying in Downey for trying to take nude photos of a 15-year-old boy, according to court records.
Reach Michael Fisher at (951) 368-9470 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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