Ex-Church Leader Gets 2-Year Term for Abusing Teen
Jail Time Likely to Total Only Weeks Because Crimes Done in '80s

By Jahna Berry
Arizona Republic [Arizona]
December 16, 2006

A former Chandler associate pastor who pleaded guilty in October to two felony counts of sexual conduct with a minor likely will serve only weeks behind bars under the laws that were in effect at the time of his crimes.

On Friday, a judge sentenced Joseph Briceņo to nearly two years in prison and three years probation. Briceņo, 60, also must register as a sex offender.

However, since Briceņo's crimes were committed in the 1980s, he will have to serve only a fraction of that sentence, about 90 days, his attorney, Karla Momberger said.

Since he has been incarcerated for about a year, that more than satisfies the sentence, she said.

Briceņo was tried this year on charges of abusing then-teenager Joaquin Bustamante, who attended St. Mary's Catholic Church.

Bustamante's sister, Minnie Nicholaus, alleged that as a young adult she was touched inappropriately by the priest. In the midst of trial, Briceņo agreed to a plea deal.

It took Bustamante, now 41, 10 years to come forward and 10 more for prosecutors to file charges. Briceņo, a non-practicing priest, was indicted in 2003.


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