WOIO - CBS 19 [Cleveland OH]
November 9, 2023
By Julia Bingel and Maddi Hebebrand
A 76-year-old former priest accused of “inappropriately touching” a 15-year-old Westlake girl sick with cancer while giving her a blessing was indicted by a grand jury Thursday.
“Luis Barajas is a predator who took advantage of a 15-year-old during a vulnerable time,” said Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley. “This indictment is the first step in holding him accountable.”
On Thursday, Barajas was indicted on six counts of gross sexual imposition.
Luis Jesus Barajas faced a judge for an initial appearance last month.
Westlake police arrested Barajas on Oct. 23 and charged him with gross sexual imposition.
According to police, the Columbian national has been staying with local families in Lorain County for several months.
On Oct. 10, he was driven to Westlake to pray with the teenager and her family.
Witnesses told police Barajas used blankets and clothing to to hide his actions and his movements during the blessing were “unconventional.” Another Catholic priest learned of the incident and reported it to police on Oct. 20.
Barajas was accused of sexual misconduct involving juveniles in the Diocese of Harrisburg, PA around 1989 and sent back to Columbia, said Westlake police.
Barajas will be arraigned at a later date.
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