Accused Former Aurora Priest Back in Federal Custody
By Dan Campana
July 26, 2017
Kane County prosecutors plan to file an emergency motion seeking a Friday hearing in a last-ditch attempt to keep former Aurora priest Alfredo Pedraza Arias, who is accused of sexual abuse, from being deported.
Arias, 50, had been in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials since May until Kane County Judge Linda Abrahamson, who raised his bail by $100,000 earlier in the month, on July 21 agreed to remand the one-time Aurora priest to the Kane County Jail. Prosecutors sought the move because federal authorities issued a June 14 deportation order for Arias.
Court records show someone posted the additional $10,000 on Monday to allow Arias to be released, however ICE records indicate Arias was taken back into their custody not long after. He is again being held in a Kenosha, Wisconsin, facility, according to immigration officials.
Arias has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving two girls who were under the age of 6 at the time of the alleged incidents, which occurred between 2012 and 2014 while he was at Sacred Heart Church in Aurora.
Charged in February 2016, Arias had been out the ministry since October 2014 while police and the Rockford Diocese investigated allegations against him. Arias also worked in Aurora at Our Lady of Good Counsel and with DeKalb's Hispanic Ministry, according to the diocese.
Prosecutors want Arias to remain in the country to face trial on the charges, and are uncertain whether they could try the case without him present if he is sent back to his native Colombia. Arias' attorney said last week he was unsure if the deportation order stemmed from the criminal charges or an issue with his visa.