Priest's Request for New Trial Denied

By Paul Tennant
Eagle Tribune
February 3, 2011

Kelvin Iguabita, the priest convicted of raping a 15-year-old girl at the rectory of All Saints Church in 2000, has lost his third bid for a new trial.

The state Appeals Court turned down Iguabita's latest request for a new trial. The three-judge panel rejected Iguabita's claim that he received "ineffective assistance" from his lawyer during the trial.

Charged with child rape, two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over age 14, and unnatural acts with a child, Iguabita was found guilty June 20, 2003, after a trial in Lawrence Superior Court.

Judge Richard Welch sentenced Iguabita, a native of Colombia, to 12 to 14 years in prison. The district attorney's office had recommended an 8- to 10-year sentence.

Iguabita, 41, who was ordained in Boston in May 1999, remains behind bars at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater. He was assigned to All Saints Church from June 1, 1999, to June 5, 2001. He then took a leave of absence and briefly returned to the Metropolitan Tribunal, which acts on marriage annulments for the Archdiocese of Boston.

Prosecutors said the details of the abuse surfaced when the victim, Faith Johnston, sought counseling. The Eagle-Tribune ordinarily does not publish the names of victims of sexual crimes, but Johnston has allowed the media to identify her.

When Pope Benedict XVI visited the United States in the spring of 2008, Johnston and other victims of abuse by priests met with him. She received an apology from the pope.

Johnston told authorities that Iguabita promised to marry her if she had sex with him and committed two sexual acts on her. On one occasion, she said, Iguabita halted one of his sexual assaults when he went to hear confessions and celebrate Mass.

Johnston was working at the rectory as a part-time secretary. She told investigators she declined Iguabita's overtures on several occasions before he assaulted her. The assaults began in July 2000, she said.



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