WXIA-TV - NBC 11 [Atlanta GA]
September 26, 2022
By Kaitlyn Ross
70-year-old Father Roberto Jaramillo is believed to have served in the Atlanta area from 2005-2008.
A catholic priest who once served in Atlanta is now accused of rape, with warrants out for his arrest in California.
The Atlanta Archdiocese confirmed the allegations Monday. According to the Diocese of Sacramento, where the charges stem from, he left California in 2005 and served in the Atlanta area until leaving for his home diocese in Colombia in 2008.
According to the Sacramento Diocese, 70-year-old Father Roberto Jaramillo faces criminal warrants for three instances of alleged sexual abuse going back more than two decades – the alleged “repeated” rape and abuse of a girl between 1996 and 1999, kissing a juvenile boy in 1999 and sexually abusing an adult male in 2001.
Meanwhile, a local group focused on helping sex abuse survivors is calling for more transparency in the investigation.
They said they want the church in Atlanta to feature Father Jaramillo more prominently on its website and to appeal to survivors to come forward.
They want anyone who was abused by Jaramillo to be able to report it to law enforcement.
“This isn’t going to stop until people come forward and tell their truth,” said Melanie Sakoda, a survivor coordinator for SNAP – the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
She learned of the allegations against Jaramillo after the warrants were issued in Sacramento. The Atlanta Archdiocese confirmed he previously served here, but has not uncovered any allegations involving minors against him here.
“The archbishop should be doing outreach and he should add this man to his list,” Sakoda said.
The Atlanta Archdiocese said it has a process to update its list and is still working to confirm which churches Jaramillo served at and when.
Attorney Darren Penn represents victims of priest abuse in Atlanta and said there should be more transparency in the process.
“I firmly believe it’s wonderful to get the information out, you gotta get the information out to the public,” he said. “But it is so little so late in what’s going on for so many years – we’re talking decades.”
President Joe Biden just signed legislation last week that abolishes the statute of limitations for federal lawsuits related to clergy abuse, so people coming forward years later will have some recourse under the new law (there is no statute of limitations for federal criminal charges related to child sex abuse cases).
But it’s not retroactive – so it won’t help people who have already come forward.
In a statement, the Sacramento Bishop said the allegations against Jaramillo were “reprehensible and sickening.”
“It is heartbreaking to consider the betrayal these sins represent toward innocent victims. We are committed to cooperating with investigators and doing all we can to secure justice for those who were betrayed and hurt,” Bishop of Sacramento Jaime Soto said.