Ex-priest, 51, accused of 'raping' 15-year-old parishioner says boy 'wanted' sexual encounter
By Kiri Blakeley
Daily Mail (UK)
August 19, 2015
|''I didn't force him to do anything he didn't want' the Reverend Manuel Gallo Espinoza recently told a journalist with NJ.com of the 15-year-old who accused him of rape in 2003|
|Max Rojas Ramirez stands outside the rectory of St. Mary's Church in Plainfield (above). It was his first visit there since he was 15, when he told others he was raped in the rectory by the Rev. Manuel Gallo Espinoza|
|Max Rojas Ramirez has filed suit against the Archdiocese of Newark, saying the church should have protected him from the likes of Gallo Espinoza - pictured above Saint Mary's Catholic Church, where the incident allegedly took place|
|Max Rojas Ramirez (above) in his Elizabeth apartment. He accuses a suspended priest, the Rev. Manuel Gallo Espinoza, of molesting him when he was 15|
|The ex-priest accused of 'raping' a teen boy posted an 800-plus word defense on Twitter - one page of it appears above|
A priest admitted to inappropriate behavior with a teenage parishioner, according to NJ.com.
The 51-year-old priest, Rev. Manuel Gallo Espinoza, fled the country in 2003 after Max Rojas Ramirez, then 15, says he was raped by the priest.
The alleged pedophile priest came out of hiding long enough to talk to a reporter from NJ.com and admitted to having sex with the teen, who is now 28, in a bedroom of the rectory at St. Mary's Church in Plainfield.
'I didn't force him to do anything he didn't want,' he reportedly told the journalist.
'One thing that I am conscious (of) is he was at that time a teenager, and it is a big mistake for me. He was older (sic) enough to walk away, but I think that I was attracted to him, that is the only explanation that I can think right now.'
He then cast the blame on the alleged victim, saying, 'He had something evil in his mind. He approached me many times.'
'I made a mistake once and that's (sic) was all,' he told the outlet. 'Being sincere with myself I decided to quit (the) priesthood by myself and start from zero and I did so ... Since that moment because of that mistake I decided (to) not hurt anyone else and I began teaching.'
The former priest is reportedly now a language teacher in Macara, Ecuador, where he fled after the accusation. It's unclear if the U.S. will try to extradite him - and if so if it will be successful, as Ecuador has a poor record of extraditions.
Asked if he knew that a 40-year-old having sex with a 15-year-old was illegal, he wrote in an email: 'I just came fr (sic) my country and really in Ecuador a person at 15 years old is not consider (sic) so innocent.'
He also said he does not consider himself a 'pedophile person.'
In later communications with the NJ.com reporter, he then claimed he was too drunk to remember the encounter at all, claiming beer in the U.S. was too strong for him.
The former priest, who was suspended from the ministry in 2003, apparently spoke to the reporter because he wanted to prove he wasn't a 'danger' to anyone.
The ex-priest was never questioned by detectives in 2003 after the initial accusation because he couldn't be found, however, now he is now the subject of a criminal investigation by the Union County Prosecutor's Office, according to NJ.com.
Ramirez alleges that the encounter was anything but consensual, and that he was attacked and raped when he confessed to Gallo Espinoza (as a priest) that he was confused about his sexuality.
Ramirez says he has nothing to hide, and therefore is fine with his name and image being disseminated by the media.
The 28-year-old has filed suit against the against the Archdiocese of Newark, saying it was responsible for the priest's behavior and should have established stronger protections.
Gallo Espinoza claims that two men within the church told him he was in big trouble and to flee - according to Ramirez, these were the exact men he trusted enough to tell them what had happened. Neither men would comment on the accusation, according to the outlet.
He reportedly returned to the U.S. in 2005 and worked as a teacher, before returning to Ecuador last year, where he remains.
The ex-priest claims he's learned his lesson and ended his conversation with the reporter with 'God bless America.'