Sacramento Diocesan Priest, Father Uriel Ojeda, Arrested on Child Molestation Charges

Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento
December 3, 2011

Bishop Jaime Soto announced during a press conference Dec. 1 at the Diocesan Pastoral Center that Father Uriel Ojeda, a priest of the diocese, has been arrested on two counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor.

Father Ojeda surrendered Wednesday night to officers of the Sacramento Police Department and was transported to Sacramento County Jail, where he is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 2 in a Sacramento courtroom.

The bishop said Father Ojeda has been placed on administrative leave, meaning that he may perform none of the duties of an ordained Catholic priest.

The charges stem from a complaint received by the diocese on Tuesday, Nov. 29, which the diocese subsequently reported to Sacramento County Child Protective Services and the Sacramento Police Department. The diocese also cooperated closely with the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office.

"I have personally spoken to the family involved," Bishop Soto said at the press conference. "They are in great pain. They have been very brave in bringing this forward. We will do everything we can to make sure they get the help they need. I admire the courage with which they have come forward to bring this to my attention so that we can bring this to the attention of authorities.

"Protecting young people remains our number one priority," the bishop added. "I am very grateful for the rapid and timely help and support we received from the Sacramento Police and the District Attorney's Office."

In an effort to encourage other possible victims to step forward, an announcement will be made in parishes this weekend (Dec. 3-4), where Father Ojeda served. He served as parochial vicar of Holy Rosary Parish in Woodland from August 2007 to July 2009, and as parochial vicar of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Redding since July 2009.

Bishop Soto said that anyone who believes they were a victim of Father Ojeda or has information about possible abuse needs to contact the Sacramento Police Department at (916) 264-5471.

Father Ojeda, 32, was born in the United States and raised in Mexico. He attended Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Ore., from 1998 to 2007 and was ordained to the priesthood in June 2007.

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