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  Ex-Priest Will Be Tried on Additional Molestation Counts

By Amy Yarbrough
San Mateo County Times
October 7, 2004

Daly City -- Prosecutors will seek another trial against a former Daly City priest accused of having sex with an underage female parishioner.

Jose Superiaso, 50, was found not guilty on Sept. 17 of three counts of committing lewd acts with a child under 14 years old. But the jury deadlocked on 18 other molestation charges after the alleged victim was unable to recall some exact dates, putting into question her age at the time.

Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti, who heads the sexual assault unit, said today that the decision to retry Superiaso was based on the "strength of the case."

"We believe we can shore up some of the concerns the jurors had about the victim's age," Guidotti said, following a hearing this morning to set a new trial date. "Obviously, we were disappointed about the outcome of the first trial."

A former priest at Saint Andrew's Church in Daly City, Superiaso was charged with having sex numerous times with the girl, who was younger than 14 in 1994 and 1995, when the molestation was said to have occurred.

Now 22 and identified only as Jane Doe, the woman reported the alleged crimes to police in May 2003. The priest was arrested the following month after the woman helped Daly City police lure him to the Bay Area from Santa Fe, N.M., where he had been working on an Indian reservation.

Superiaso was originally charged with 24 counts of child molestation, but the prosecution dropped three of the charges early in the trial. His bail was reduced to $2.5 million when the trial ended last month.

Superiaso's attorney, Ray Buenaventura, could not be reached for comment this morning.

San Mateo resident George Hubbard, who met the priest

18 years ago and attended most of the court proceedings, said he felt encouraged when the jury came back with not guilty verdicts on some of the charges.

"I was hoping he would be able to go today, but that didn't happen," Hubbard said. "[Because] there were three counts he was found not guilty on, I think it's a waste of money to try him again."

Superiaso's new trial date has been set for Feb. 28, 2005. He will return to court on Nov. 2 for a pretrial conference.

Guidotti said the victim and her family are "cooperative and pleased about the decision to retry the case."

 
 

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