Ex-deacon Convicted, Faces Term of 14 Years
By Robert Gavin
Albany Times Union
August 15, 2014
|Angel Garcia (Albany County District Attorney's Office)|
First, Angel Garcia lost his congregation.
Now he's lost his freedom.
Garcia, 61, who was defrocked as a deacon in 2010 for child molestation allegations, was convicted on Thursday of two counts of sexual abuse for victimizing a 6-year-old girl in 2003.
Each of the sex abuse counts could land the one-time deacon at the Church of the Holy Family on Central Avenue in prison for up to 7 years.
The trial was not related to the allegation that Garcia sexually abused a minor in the early 1990s before his ordination as a deacon. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, which found reasonable grounds to believe the earlier allegations, defrocked Garcia.
That was not mentioned during the trial before Judge Stephen Herrick.
When Thursday's verdict came in, Garcia's family became emotional, one man screaming an expletive.
On Tuesday, the victim, now 17, testified that in 2003 her mother asked her to deliver vegetables to Garcia, who was a friend of the family. She said before she left Garcia's apartment, he approached her from behind and touched her genitals.
"I tried to just move away and just make him stop," the girl told jurors.
She said Garcia took her into his bedroom, where he continued the abuse.
The girl testified that Garcia told her to keep the abuse secret. Ten years later, she said, she confided in her aunt, who told her parents.
Garcia did not testify. His attorney, Jay Hernandez, tried to get the case tossed during the trial, arguing that his client's constitutional right to confront his accuser was denied.
"A lot of issues are still open in this case and we're going to explore them completely," Hernandez said.
Garcia's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 17.
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