L.A. Priest Arrested for Alleged Child Molestation

The Associated Press, carried in The Desert Sun [Los Angeles CA]
September 29, 2004

LOS ANGELES -- A 40-year-old Catholic priest was arrested Tuesday for investigation of child molestation, officials said.

The Rev. Fernando Lopez was arrested by detectives from the police departmentís Sexually Exploited Child Unit at his home without incident, police said.

He was arrested for allegedly molesting multiple victims while he was a priest at St. Thomas the Apostle parish in the Koreatown area.

Lopez was booked for investigation of committing a lewd or lascivious act with a child and is being held on $300,000 bail.

Lopez, a Colombia citizen, came to the United States in 2001 from Rome and was a member of a diocese in Italy, said Tod Tamberg, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Before Lopez was allowed to function as a priest in Los Angeles, he and his bishop provided a statement saying that Lopez had "no impediments to full ministry, and that includes working with children," Tamberg said.

The archdiocese became aware of an allegation in July against Lopez and he was immediately removed from the ministry and police were contacted, Tamberg said.


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