Former Catholic Deacon Taken into Custody Pending Sentencing

By Alex Dobuzinskis
City News Service
May 24, 2002

A former Catholic deacon who pleaded no contest to sex- related charges involving two boys was taken into custody today, pending sentencing June 27.

Pomona Superior Court Commissioner Wade Olson ordered Arturo Ahumada, 45, of South El Monte to remain behind bars.

Without elaborating, Deputy District Attorney Habib A. Balian said outside court that information in a psychologist's report is the reason the prosecutor believes Ahumada should remain jailed.

During the hearing, the commissioner said he had received some "hearsay information" about a party Ahumada reportedly attended, and "even though it appears there were many, many more adults than children at the party, it still is very disturbing to this court."

Ahumada was under a court order not to be alone with children, and he "was not alone," attorney Wayne Rozenberg said.

The commissioner agreed to postpone Ahumada's sentencing because the psychological evaluation did not provide details about whether the former deacon from Epiphany Catholic Church in South El Monte posed any risk to the community, Ahumada's attorney said.

"That report doesn't really answer the question that was meant to be answered," the commissioner said.

Ahumada pleaded no contest March 4 to two felony counts of showing "explicit pornographic materials" to two teen-age boys, and a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery involving one of the boys, according to the prosecutor.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department opened an investigation into Ahumada after one of the teens reported the activities to a counselor at high school, Balian said.

Both boys were in court for the hearing, along with some of their family members.

"The victims want closure in this case, and we're doing everything we can to get them closure," the prosecutor said.

Ahumada faces up to three years and eight months in state prison on the felony charges, and up to six months in county jail on the misdemeanor charge, Balian said.


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