Archbishop Vlazny Defends Loan to Woodburn Priest in Alleged Abuse Case
By Nancy Haught
August 24, 2012
|Archbishop John G. Vlazny, photographed during a 2007 prayer service for victims of clergy sexual abuse. |
Portland's Catholic archbishop, the Most Rev. John G. Vlazny, defended his decision Thursday to loan the Rev. Angel Armando Perez money pay for an attorney in his criminal case. Perez is being held without bail in Marion County, facing charges that include first-degree sexual abuse and abuse of a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct.
In a statement published online in the Catholic Sentinel, the archdiocesan newspaper, Vlazny said he was "deeply saddened and troubled" by accusations against Perez.
"The behavior Father is accused of is sinful, wrong and can never be tolerated," Vlazny said. "Criminal charges in this case, as in all similar cases, require both prosecution and defense in court before judgment is rendered."
The archbishop said Perez, a priest of the archdiocese, "requested assistance for his defense."
"Father has committed his life to priestly service and is respected and well-liked by his parishioners," Vlazny said. "Who of us would not do what we could to help a beloved brother, sister or child in tragic circumstances?" Noting that priests are paid "modestly" and "rely on us for financial assistance in extraordinary circumstances," Vlazny said he offered to assist Perez.
"As Father's archbishop, I offered a loan to him for attorney expenses after his own financial resources have been exhausted. I saw this as my obligation, certainly in charity, if not in justice."
The archbishop said funds for the loan "will not come from the Archbishop's Appeal or any other designated fund." He said the decision was difficult.
"I am surprised by the strong opposition it has raised and I am sorry that so many find it offensive and inexcusable," he said.
"The hearts of all of us go out to the young man involved, his family and the friends and relatives of Fr. Angel Perez."