Former Priest Arrested on Suspicion of Sexual Molesting Preteens in the 1960s

By C.J. Schexnayder
San Bernardino Sun
February 26, 2003

A former Catholic priest was arrested Wednesday in Fresno on suspicion of sexually molesting four preteens in Crestline in the mid-1960s, authorities said.

Donald Farmer, 65, was arrested on suspicion of lewd and lasciviousacts upon a minor and is being held in the Fresno County Jail. Bail was set at $100,000. He is expected to be transported to the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga later this week.

Officials with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said Farmer molested the children between 1966 and 1967 in a Crestline cabin that was owned by a relative. The incidents involved two boys and two girls, all of whom were younger than 13 at the time, said sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Beavers.

Farmer was a priest at the Holy Family Church in Glendale at the time. He retired from the priesthood in 1969 and moved to Fresno where he works as a marriage and family counselor.

"He has no standing with the church at this time,' Beavers said."We understand he was a trusted family friend of these kids and it wasn't connected to him being a priest.'

The investigation began last July when they were contacted by a manwho claimed to have been molested by Farmer. Three additional victims were identified and the case was submitted to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office, Beavers said.

An arrest warrant for 14 counts of child molestation was issued and Fresno County Sheriff's Department deputies took Farmer into custody Wednesday at his office.


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