Priest out of Church after Sex Abuse Allegations

CBS 13
January 7, 2010

Modesto -- A priest accused of sexually assaulting a minor will never be allowed to serve in a church again, but he is not facing any criminal charges.

The Stockton Diocese announced Wednesday that they have kicked out Father Leo Suarez, who spent more than 20 years serving Catholic Churches in the San Joaquin valley.

Suarez has been accused of sexually molesting a minor two decades ago, but the allegations only came to light recently and a criminal investigation was apparently never launched.

Suarez served most recently at a Modesto church and school up until two months ago, according to parishioners. He was ordained in 1988, and the sexual misconduct allegedly happened two years later, when Suarez was serving at St. Anthony's church in Hughson.

Church officials did not elaborate on who came forward with the allegations.

The Diocese wouldn't comment on camera, but in a written statement, Bishop Stephen Blaire said, "Father Leo Suarez has expressed deep sorrow over the hurt he has caused."

The statement goes on to say, "I hold in prayer all who have been hurt by what happened."

The Diocese said Suarez is in residential treatment and that no other victims have come forward, but any other potential victims are asked to contact them


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