Court Docs Reveal Disturbing Allegations against Woodburn Priest
August 14, 2012
[Woodburn police report - The Oregonian]
Court documents released Tuesday afternoon reveal the alleged sexual abuse of a 12-year-old boy by a Woodburn priest happened at his house following a church event.
Father Angel Perez, 46, a priest at Saint Luke Catholic Church, made his first court appearance in the afternoon after his arrest early Monday morning. Police began an investigation after they received a report that a child said Perez had inappropriately touched him.
Perez faces one count of first-degree sexual abuse, which is a felony. He's also accused of giving alcohol to a minor.
Court documents say Perez invited the boy to spend the night at his house after a party. The boy told police Perez touched his genitals and took pictures using a cell phone very early Monday morning. The documents also say Perez was naked from the waist down.
According to the court documents, after the alleged abuse occurred, the boy ran out a door of the home and out onto the street. The boy told investigators that Perez gave chase in his underwear but after the boy called out to a couple people he spotted on a driveway, he no longer saw Perez chasing him.
According to detectives who interviewed Perez after he was taken to the police department, Perez said he had drank too much alcohol, became drunk, eventually blacked out and didn't remember anything that happened.
He told detectives that he remembered going upstairs to brush his teeth and when he returned he saw a look of "disappointment and anger" on the boy's face.
Perez has no history of complaints in the Catholic Church and has been at Saint Luke Catholic Church for four years.
Faithful parishioners spoke out in support of Perez even after the stunning new details surfaced.
In a show of respect for Perez, the Garcia family has a picture of Perez front and center on the mantel. Isai Garcia, 16, said he went to Saint Luke's every other week.
"I was just shocked. It's hard to believe he's accused of something like that," Isai said whose brother is in the picture with Perez.
Whether the photo will remain on the mantel, Isai said, "We'll see – see what my family, what they decide."
Bud Bunce, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Portland said it's the first time Perez has ever faced trouble in the Catholic Church.
"It's very troubling. We've worked very diligently to implement very rigid child abuse policies to prevent this from happening," he said.
Perez has also worked in parishes in Corvallis and Coos Bay. He's been placed on administrative leave as required by the archdiocese of Portland's child protection policy. That means he's not allowed to say mass or perform any other priestly duties.
The archdiocese will also conduct its own investigation once the criminal proceedings against Perez are complete.