Jailed Ex-Seminarian Talks Exclusively to Action News

By Valerie Hurst
April 3, 2008

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Juan Gonzalez believes he was called by God to be a priest.

But what he saw at an Oregon seminary quickly disappointed him...

"How they relate to eachother, how they treat eachother, how they hate eachother," he explained to Action News in an exclusive jailhouse interview.

Juan says he accepted allegations he looked at child porn just so he could get out of there.

He claims Bishop Carlos Sevilla and other priests knew he was innocent all along.

"I feel like I am a little fly compared to the bishop's foot is gonna crush me," he says.

But the bishop says whatever happened at the seminary is still just an allegation.

He admits errors in hiring Juan--knowing he was under investigation.

But insists he never knew about the porn charges.

He assumed Juan would only work with adults.

Valerie Hurst/Reporting: Here at Holy Redeemer church in Yakima, Juan says everybody knew he instructed teenagers.

From quinceaneras to confirmation classes, he says that was his job for five years.

And he's convinced the bishop knew about his role in the church.

"He has to know what's going on with the priests in Cle Elum and White Salmon," he explains.

The bishop insists he had no idea Juan was around kids.

But neighbors to the Cowiche retreat center where Juan was stationed claim it would be hard to work there and not be around kids.

"There's a lot of teens here, you see kids that look like they're 16 they're starting to drive coming out," neighbor Tony Duffield tells us.

Juan says his faith is still the most precious thing he has, but now considers himself a ruined man in the church.

If he wins his fight against the diocese, he plans to help people some other way.

The bishop gave me a few minutes by phone today.

He says he should have told church pastors about Juan's job 'limitations' .

The formal job description on Juan's visa does not say anything specific about working with children.


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