Fremont Catholic priest arrested on 30 counts of child sexual abuse


April 1, 2019

By Maureen Kelly

In the East Bay, a Catholic priest has been arrested at his Fremont church and is being held in jail tonight, facing 30 counts of child sexual abuse.

Father Hector David Mendoza-Vela was booked into the Dublin’s Santa Rita Jail on 30 felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child between the ages of 14 and 15.

The Alameda County sheriff says the male teen victim had been a parishioner at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in San Lorenzo, which was Vela’s first assignment after being ordained in 2013.

The alleged abuse happened over a span of 18 months between 2016 and 2018 with most of the incidents taking place in a private home in an unincorporated area of the county.

“People in their good nature often except the church and the clergy into their life,” said Sgt. Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. “And in this particular case we believe Father Vela took advantage of those relationships and that he used those relationships to pray on this particular child.”

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