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  The Rev. Francisco Javier Garcia

Dallas Morning News
December 5, 2004

The Rev. Francisco Javier Garcia

LAW ENFORCEMENT CASE STUDY #3

Mexican authorities promised California authorities that they would try to catch and prosecute Father Garcia after he fled abuse charges in 1995. But they later dismissed the case without notifying California officials.

CURRENTLY

The priest could not be located for comment. Relatives and Mexican church officials would not discuss his whereabouts.

HISTORY

Father Garcia fled California after a few boys told the Sacramento Diocese that he had abused them. A few months later, charges were filed in two small counties in the diocese. Colusa County District Attorney John Poyner sought to have the priest tried in Mexico, which in certain instances will prosecute its citizens for crimes committed while abroad. Mr. Poyner said Mexican authorities agreed to take the case but didn't respond to follow-up calls in later years. "It sounds like I got flimflammed," he said after a reporter told him the case had been dropped. "Maybe they didn't want to do a priest." California's Department of Justice, which assisted Mr. Poyner, said Mexico hasn't responded to its request for an explanation. Father Garcia still faces charges in the other small county, Yolo, which said its cases were too old to seek his prosecution in Mexico or his extradition to the United States.

JUSTICE OFFICIALS SAY

The Mexico attorney general's office said an arrest warrant had been issued and a prosecution deadline had passed, but it refused to comment further, Father Garcia's sister, who lives in their hometown of Las Mesas, near Acapulco, said Mexican police never asked her about his whereabouts.

CHURCH OFFICIALS SAY

Father Garcia contacted the Sacramento Diocese soon after reaching Mexico, diocesan attorney Jim Sweeney said, and disobeyed an order to return. The priest went to work in the Acapulco Archdiocese but has since left that job.

 
 

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