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  Ex-Ukiah Priest's Sex Case Dropped

By Andrew LaMar
Press Democrat
June 20, 1999

Napa prosecutors dropped a sexual battery case against the Rev. Jorge Hume, saying that they weren't satisfied with the credibility of the man who made the accusations against the Roman Catholic priest.

However, authorities are pursuing a separate investigation into another matter involving Hume, who was transferred from Ukiah after he admitted stealing money from St. Mary of the Angels church.

Lance Hafenstein, a Napa County deputy district attorney, said the new matter doesn't involve sexual misconduct but refused to provide further details until the investigation is complete and prosecutors decide whether or not to file charges.

Hume's attorney said he was thrilled to receive the news about the sexual battery case.

"We've always known, and he's always maintained, that these are false charges," attorney Irma Perez Cordova said. "We have been waiting for authorities to make this public so we're happy his name is being cleared."

Cordova said she was unaware of any other investigation and declined further comment.

Hume has not spoken to reporters since the allegation surfaced earlier this year and could not be located for comment on the latest developments.

Hafenstein's announcement comes four months after Mendocino County prosecutors said they wouldn't pursue allegations that Hume sexually assaulted four young men he befriended through Latino groups at the Ukiah church in 1996.

In that instance, prosecutors said a one-year time limit on filing criminal charges already had expired.

Hume, 41, was transferred from Ukiah after he admitted stealing $1,200 from the church collections in 1996. Some church employees believe that he stole $10,000 or more, and the Diocese of Santa Rosa eventually reimbursed the church $4,200.

His whereabouts now are unclear. He was relieved of his duties at St. John's church in Napa after the sexual battery allegation surfaced in January.

Questions about Hume and whether he will be reinstated at St. John's or elsewhere were refered to Bishop Patrick Ziemann of the Santa Rosa Diocese. The bishop did not respond to repeated telephone inquiries over two days.

Cordova said Hume should be allowed to resume his ministry.

"He is a priest and always will be a priest," she said. "As far as I can see, there's no reason why he can't be reinstated."

The complaint in Napa came from a man who told authorities that he awoke in Hume's room at the St. John's rectory to find the priest fondling him. The man was 19 years old at the time.

Hafenstein said doubts about the man's story grew as information was gathered from other witnesses. One witness told investigators that he saw Hume at a different place at the time of the alleged attack, and another accused the victim of engaging in the same conduct he accused Hume of committing.

 
 

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