Investigation of Diocesan Priest in Progress
By Teresa Dominguez
Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno
August 18, 2014
On Thursday, August 14, 2014, the Victim Assistant Coordinator for the Diocese of Fresno received a call from a concerned parent. Arrangements were made to meet with the parents and their youth that evening to receive a detailed account of the events and observations that motivated the family to make contact with the Diocesan officials. Immediately following the interview, mandated reporting procedures were engaged and the report was received by the Los Banos Police Department.
On Friday, August 15, 2014, an investigation by law enforcement was initiated and the priest, Rev. Robert E. Gamel, Pastor of St. Joseph Church in Los Banos, was placed on administrative leave. Rev. Joe Baca has been appointed Administrator Pro Tem for an indefinite amount of time.
The Diocese of Fresno is cooperating with the investigators while following diocesan safe environment policies and procedures which take into consideration the wellbeing of all parties involved. Since an investigation is in progress, the Diocese is unable to comment on any details regarding this case.
Anyone with information that may be relevant to this investigation is asked to contact Sergeant Ivan Mendez at (209) 827-7070 Ext. 114. The Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Cheryl Sarkisian, may be contacted at (559) 493-2882.
Most Rev. Armando X. Ochoa, Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, calls upon the faithful to hold this issue in prayer out of concern for all involved.