|Ex-Priest Gets 20-Year Term
His Probation Is Revoked after Sexually Explicit Photos Found
By Tom Bower
San Antonio Express-News [Texas]
July 14, 2004
A defrocked Catholic priest on 10 years' probation for molesting four high school seminary students saw his probation revoked Tuesday and was sentenced to 20 years in prison after sexually explicit photos were found on his home computer.
Under the sentencing terms imposed by 227th District Judge Phil Kazen, defendant Carlos Lozano also must pay $4,000 in fines, and he will get credit for the 30-day jail sentence he served as a condition of going on probation.
At the time of his arrest March 23 at his Kingsville home, the 47-year-old former seminary dean was just three months away from completing 10 years of deferred adjudication. Deferred adjudication is a form of probation.
He received the original sentence from now-deceased 227th District Judge Mike Machado after pleading no contest to having sexual contact with four of his students in 1993.
"I'm very pleased that the judge did what was right," said Barbara Garcia Boehland, the mother of Eduardo Ramon III, one of the four victims.
Ramon committed suicide in 1997 at age 20.
"My son and I have been waiting for this day. Unfortunately, he is dead, but I'm sure he would have said, 'Thank God for this day and what it has come down to,'" Boehland added, tears streaming down her face.
At the time his crimes were committed, Lozano was the dean of men at St. Anthony's High School Seminary at 3200 McCullough Ave.
Before Kazen pronounced Lozano's sentence, he listened to testimony from Cordelia Mendoza, the mother of another of the victims, John Zuniga.
Mendoza testified her son was attending the seminary because he felt the calling to become a priest, but the molestation by Lozano changed all that.
Sobbing on the witness stand, she told the court, "He was a very angry person after all that happened. His whole attitude, his whole demeanor changed totally."
After Tuesday's hearing, Mendoza said she was relieved her son finally was getting the justice he deserved.
After a daylong hearing in which prosecutors brought several current and former probation officers to the stand, as well as a computer expert with the Bexar County Sheriff's Department, Kazen sentenced Lozano to 20 years in prison on each of the four original charges, with the time to be served concurrently.
Prosecutors Lori Valenzuela and Miguel Najera said that is the maximum sentence the judge could have imposed under the sentencing standards in effect at the time Lozano's case was filed in 1995.
During the hearing, Lozano's defense attorney Mark Stevens argued prosecutors failed to prove Lozano ever actually saw any of the 74 photos discovered on the hard drive of his computer, and, even if he did, the prosecution's expert witness testified none of the photos amounted to child pornography.
The condition of probation Lozano violated was added to his sentence in 1998 after a state law was passed prohibiting sex offenders from having access to sexually explicit material, prosecution witnesses testified.
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