Sevilla Criticized for Not Mentioning Priest's Conviction

By Jane Gargas
Yakima Herald-Republic
April 10, 2008

YAKIMA — A national support group for clergy sex abuse victims today criticized Bishop Carlos Sevilla of the Catholic Diocese of Yakima for the way he handled information about a former priest who was arrested for molesting a minor in Oregon after he had served in the diocese here.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said Sevilla should have notified local parishioners of Father Jose Joaquin Estrada Arango's arrest for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in Morrow County, Ore.

According to court papers, Estrada pleaded guilty in December 2003 and was subsequently deported to Colombia, his home country.

Prior to living in Oregon, he had served as a priest at St. Peter Claver Church in Wapato and Holy Redeemer Church in Yakima.

SNAP officials sent a letter to Sevilla today, saying he should have made the Oregon conviction public in case there had been any victims in Yakima.

The group also called on the bishop to forgo his plans to travel to Washington, D.C., next week for Pope Benedict XVI's first papal visit to the United States.

According to a diocese spokesperson last week, Sevilla intended to attend the Papal Mass next Thursday, but today the diocese said the bishop's plans are tentative.


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