Trial for former El Paso priest resumes Monday morning
By Holly Bock
July 15, 2019
|Miguel Luna testifying in court July 12, 2019|
Monday marks day five of the Miguel Luna trial. It is set to begin at 9 a.m. in the El Paso County Courthouse with Judge Maria Sales-Mendoza.
The Miguel Luna case dates back to the 1990s, while he was an active priest. He is accused of sexually assaulting young girls for several years.
During Friday’s testimony, Luna admitted to fathering a child with a prostitute in Juarez around the same time. Luna says he took money from a church in El Paso to buy groceries for that child and the mother.
One of his alleged victims testified Luna got her pregnant and that she had a miscarriage. She said it started when she was 11 and lasted until she was 17. A second woman claims Luna got her pregnant and that she had an abortion.
Another big moment of the trial so far was when Bishop Mark Seitz of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso was questioned about a phone conversation with Luna.
Seitz showed the courtroom a written statement that he wrote during their phone call in 2017.
The bishop wrote that Luna accused him of having no mercy and ruining his life.
Seitz said Luna insisted that if he were to make this sexual abuse public, it would bring out false accusers, saying there were no other victims.
Seitz testified Luna told him he went to confession and that God had forgiven him. He says the church had not.
Seitz said Luna became angry when he said he needed to make public what Luna had done.
Luna was sent to a rehab facility for priests accused of sex crimes in 1988, but prosecutors say the therapy failed.
Luna originally started working as a priest in the Catholic Diocese of El Paso in 1982 but was removed from the ministry in 2013.
Make sure to follow our reporter Justin Kree. He will be sitting in on this trial and posting updates in the courtroom today.