Ex-priest Pleads Guilty to Possession of Child Porn in Los Banos
By Rob Parsons
March 11, 2016
|Robert Gamel Merced County Sheriff’s Office|
A former Catholic priest in Los Banos pleaded guilty Friday to possession of child pornography, the Merced County District Attorney’s Office confirmed.
The Rev. Robert E. Gamel, 65, changed his plea before Judge Harry Jacobs in Merced County Superior Court. He faces up to three years in state prison when he is sentenced May 24, according to Travis Colby, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case.
Gamel is the former head of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Los Banos, and was commonly known throughout the city as “Father Bob.” He was head of the church in Los Banos from 2009 until December 2014.
It’s unlikely Gamel would receive the maximum sentence as he has no prior criminal history, prosecutors acknowledged.
“However, we’ll have to see what (the judge) decides to do,” Colby said in an interview with the Merced Sun-Star. “I’m relieved that he’s chosen to take responsibility for his actions so the victim can move on with his life.”
Gamel was charged with possession of a nude photograph of a teenage boy. Gamel told other priests he sought out the illicit photograph on the Internet, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the Sun-Star.