Catholic Priest Defends Himself against Molestation Allegations
By Monica Vaughan
October 10, 2013
A Catholic priest from Colombia charged with misdemeanor counts of sexual battery and child molestation of a 16-year-old Yuba City girl took the stand on Thursday in Sutter County Superior Court to testify in his own defense.
Defense attorney Markus Dombois said in his closing statement the incident is a cultural misunderstanding and that the girl is lying about the night of the incident for attention.
"I believe she lied. One little lie can snowball and knock down a chalet," Dombois said.
Prosecutor Deputy District Attorney Anu Chopra said the defendant is using his culture and language as a crutch and that he knows what he did was wrong.
"No priest in any country should ever touch a child the way this man touched (her)," Chopra said.
Some of the testimony focused on a video shown to the jury of a police interview with the Rev. Julio Cesar Guarin-Sosa recorded on the night he was arrested.
In the video, Guarin-Sosa confessed he did kiss the girl close to her mouth when he was alone with her in her bedroom on March 8, but he did not have sexual intent.
The Appeal-Democrat is not naming the girl because she is a minor and an alleged victim.
Prosecutors said the evidence, including the girl's testimony, is that while he was visiting the girl's family, he kissed her forehead and her mouth, "nibbled" or "sucked" on her nose, placed his head against her chest, whispered in her ear he loved her and held her close.
During a recorded phone call between the girl and Guarin-Sosa, he apologized for the incident in the Yuba City girl's bedroom and asked her to keep it secret.
In the recorded video, he said he apologized on the phone because "I had come to realize suddenly that I had invaded her personal space."
The video also shows the detective asked "was it right" for the priest to put his head on her chest, to which the priest responded "no."
Dombois asked Guarin-Sosa why he said that.
"Many questions when he asked in English and at that time I was a little nervous. I frankly didn't understand the context," Guarin-Sosa said through an interpreter.
Closing statements are scheduled to continue today.