Prosecutors Seek to Move up Former Priest's Trial Date
By Dan Campana
August 4, 2017
With custody issues seemingly settled at the moment for Alfredo Pedraza-Arias, the former Aurora priest accused of sexually abusing two young girls, Kane County prosecutors plan to go to before a judge Monday to ask for an earlier trial date than scheduled, court records show.
Recently, Kane County Judge Linda Abrahamson ordered Arias to stand trial beginning Sept. 18 on multiple counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving two girls who were under the age of 6 when, according to prosecutors, Arias fondled them at Sacred Heart Church in Aurora between 2012 and 2014. He was charged in February 2016.
The case took a turn in May when, while free on bond, Arias was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. A few weeks later, a federal judge ordered Arias to be deported to his native Colombia. That move prompted prosecutors to ask Abrahamson to revoke or increase Arias' bail, which she did by $100,000 in July.
Arias was briefly held in Kane County Jail until someone — possibly former church parishioners, Arias' attorney said — posted bond on July 21. Immigration officials once again took Arias into their custody three days later, which led prosecutors to go back to court to pursue another bail increase or revocation.
During a July 28 hearing, Abrahamson increased Arias' bail by $100,000 for a second time. He's remained in the jail ever since. Prosecutors believe they'll have a better chance to keep Arias in the country for a trial as long as he is held locally, but acknowledged uncertainty as to what would happen if someone posts his bond, and if he is deported.
Dan Campana is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News