Tulia priest sentenced to prison in sex abuse case

Amarillo Globe-News

By Jim McBride

A former Tulia priest has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting a young male parishioner who attended the Church of the Holy Spirit.

John Salazar, 58, pleaded guilty Monday in a Tulia Court to a second-degree felony charge of indecency with a child — sexual contact. Judge Robert W. Kincaid ordered him to pay a $1,500 fine and $734 in court costs, according to a copy of the plea agreement.

In 1987, Salazar pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to molesting two California altar boys. He served about half of a six-year sentence in California before the Diocese of Amarillo hired him to lead a Tulia church.

The Amarillo Diocese hired Salazar in 1991 directly from a New Mexico treatment program that treated pedophile priests and assigned him to the Church of the Holy Spirit in Tulia, but diocesan officials said earlier they had received no complaints during his service with the tiny parish.

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