Seminarian Arrested for Allegedly Molesting LA Altar Boys in '80s; ; Pickup 3rd Graf Pvs: Authorities Alleged ...

Associated Press State & Local Wire
March 29, 2003

A former seminarian charged with molesting altar boys two decades ago has been arrested at his home in Massachusetts, authorities said Saturday.

Amado Pena was arrested in Chelsea, Mass., Thursday night, a Los Angeles police statement said. He was arrested after Massachusetts state police received a tip he was living at an apartment in the town just outside Boston, said David Procopio, a Suffolk County district attorney's spokesman.

Pena, 52, was suffering from tuberculosis and was in a contagious state, he said.

Authorities also discovered Pena was wanted on two outstanding Massachusetts warrants dating to 1987, charging him with unnatural acts with child under 16 and indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, Procopio said. No other details were available on the warrants.

Pena pleaded innocent Friday to the Los Angeles County fugitive warrant and the Massachusetts warrants, Procopio said. Pena was being held without bail.

Massachusetts authorities will discuss his extradition with California officials, Procopio said.

Authorities alleged that while he was a seminarian, Pena molested two 14-year-old boys between 1980 and 1982 at Santa Teresita Church in the Boyle Heights area of East Los Angeles.

Pena left the seminary before becoming a priest, prosecutors said.

An arrest warrant was issued after the Los Angeles County district attorney's office charged him Tuesday with 18 counts of committing lewd acts with a child.

He faces up to eight years in prison if convicted.

Arrest warrants also were issued for two former Los Angeles-area priests.

Lawrence Joseph Lovell, 55, the former youth pastor in charge of altar boys at San Gabriel Mission in San Gabriel, was charged with 11 counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14.

Lovell, who now works for the Mental Health Center at the University of New Mexico, allegedly molested four boys between 1980 and 1984. He was previously convicted of child molestation in 1986 and removed from the ministry that same year. Lovell was arrested in Rio Rancho, N.M. His bail was set at $50,000. His lawyer said Lovell is willing to return to California to face charges.

Thomas Marshall, 74, has been charged with 20 counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14. He is retired and living in Toronto. Marshall was not immediately taken into custody.

The alleged molestations occurred between 1959 and 1963 while Marshall was serving as a priest with St. Paul the Apostle Church in West Los Angeles, according to prosecutors. The altar boys were 11 and 13 at the time the alleged molestations began, prosecutors said.


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