|Sacramento Priest Turns Himself in after Child Molestation Allegations
December 1, 2011
A priest in the Sacramento Roman Catholic diocese has been arrested on accusations that he molested a child, Bishop Jaime Soto announced Thursday.
The Rev. Uriel Ojeda, 32, turned himself in a day earlier after the diocese received a complaint from a parishioner's family, Soto said Thursday during a news conference.
"I have personally spoken to the family involved and they are in great pain. ... What they have endured has been difficult, and
I grieve for what they have suffered and are suffering," Soto said. "Yet I also admire the courage with which they have come forward."
Police spokeswoman Laura Peck said Ojeda was arrested about 8 p.m. Wednesday at police headquarters on suspicion of multiple molestation counts. It was not immediately clear whether the priest had his own attorney.
Ojeda is being held in the Sacramento County jail on charges of lewd or lascivious act with a child under 14 and lewd acts on a child under 14 in which the victim was at least 10 years younger than the perpetrator. Bail was set at $5 million, and Ojeda was scheduled to appear in court Friday, according to jail records.
Soto said the family approached the diocese on Tuesday and church officials immediately contacted Child Protective Services and Sacramento police.
No charges have been filed, said Shelly Orio, spokeswoman for the Sacramento County District Attorney's office.
The bishop said the diocese wants to encourage any other potential victims to come forward, and it will make announcements in parishes where Ojeda has served in the Woodland and Redding areas.
"Anyone who believes that they have been a victim of Father Ojeda or other abuse needs to contact the diocese," he said.
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