|Visiting Priest Indicted on Sex Charges
By Hoa Nguyen
The Journal News
May 1, 2009
MAMARONECK - A Catholic priest visiting from Ecuador has been indicted on sex-abuse charges for allegedly fondling a parishioner he was counseling, the district attorney said yesterday.
Richard Ordonez, 37, of 816 Underhill Ave., St. Vito's Church in Mamaroneck, was indicted on three counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree attempted sexual abuse in connection with assaults that allegedly occurred in 2004, the district attorney said.
Ordonez, who gave marriage counseling to the victim between Jan. 12-23, 2004, is accused of grabbing her and attempting to sexually assault her during their last counseling session, officials said. She fled the session and avoided him .
In 2008, after talking to a friend, she contacted village police to report the assaults, officials said. By that time, Ordonez was out of the country, but he returned later that year. Ordonez was arrested Dec. 8 by police at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he was about to board a plane with a one-way ticket to Ecuador.
If convicted of the charges he has been indicted on, Ordonez would face up to seven years in state prison.
A message left at St. Vito's Church seeking comment was not returned.
Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, said officials have revoked Ordonez's privileges to serve as a priest in the area. Ordonez also would unlikely be able to serve as a priest anywhere else, Zwilling said.
The diocese has no plans to look into the allegations, Zwilling said, adding that officials will defer to police and prosecutors, particularly because Ordonez is not from the diocese.
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