Former Priest in Chandler Is Sentenced to Prison for Sexual Abuse in Early '80s

Associated Press, carried in Arizona Daily Star [Arizona]
December 16, 2006

Phoenix — A former Catholic priest was sentenced to prison Friday for sexually abusing a teen more than 20 years ago.

Joseph Briceno, who pleaded guilty in October on two felony counts of sexual conduct with a minor, received the maximum sentence possible under a plea agreement with prosecutors. Besides serving 1.875 years in prison, he will be on probation for three years and also must register as a sex offender, said Barnett Lotstein, special assistant county attorney.

The county attorney previously dismissed four other counts of sexual conduct with a minor, one count of attempted sexual contact and one count of sexual abuse.

The incidents happened in 1982 and 1983 while Briceno was a priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Chandler.

The abuse came to light in the early 1990s when the victim approached the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix to complain. He and his family eventually were paid a $15,000 settlement.

Briceno, 60, was one of seven priests indicted in Maricopa County in 2003 on sex-abuse charges. He was captured in Mexico in December 2005 and has been jailed since.


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