Former Tyler Priest Arrested on Sexual Assault Charges

Associated Press State & Local Wire
July 18, 2003

A former Tyler priest arrested this week in Ecuador arrived in Miami on Friday, six years after he failed to appear in court on charges that he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old parishioner, authorities said.

Gustavo DeJesus Cuello, 40, who was a priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, is expected to be extradited to Tyler for trial, Smith County District Attorney Jack Skeen Jr. said.

The victim told authorities that she engaged in sexual intercourse with Cuello on many occasions between June 1996 and January 1997, typically before choir practice on Wednesdays and services on Sundays, Skeen said. Legally, the teen was not old enough to consent to having sexual intercourse.

Skeen said Diocese of Tyler officials cooperated fully with the six-year search for Cuello.

He was arrested in Guayaguil, Equador, based on information provided by the FBI in Tyler to Equador officials, Skeen said. Cuello appeared before a judge in Quito, Equador, who ordered him deported.

If convicted, Cuello faces five to 90 years or life in the penitentiary and up to a $10,000 fine, the prosecutor said.


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