Woodburn Priest in Alleged Sex Abuse Case Appears in Court

By Kimberly A.C. Wilson
The Oregonian
August 14, 2012

The Rev. Angel Armando Perez at Saint Luke Catholic Church in Woodburn.

The Rev. Angel Armando Perez made his first court appearance on Tuesday in a case involving allegations of sexual abuse, use of a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct and furnishing alcohol to a minor.

According to jail records, Perez now also faces an accusation of driving under the influence.

Parishioners filled the benches of the courtroom in Marion County Circuit Court. Several dozen recited the Lord's Prayer in Spanish before the proceeding began. Perez appeared via video from the Marion County Jail during the 10-minute court session and listened to attorneys and judicial staff discussing scheduling of additional hearings.

A release hearing, to consider bail for Perez, was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Aug. 20. A preliminary hearing hearing was scheduled for Aug. 22.

The judge also confirmed that on request of the victim, there would be no cameras allowed during courtroom proceedings in the case. He also ordered that there be no contact between Perez and the victim.

Perez, the parish priest at Saint Luke Catholic Church in Woodburn, was arrested early Monday after police responded to a complaint at about 1:30 a.m. Monday alleging inappropriate contact between the priest and a 12-year-old boy.

Perez, 46, was booked into Marion County Jail Monday evening.

"He has our support," said Woodburn parishioner Frankie Diaz, 30. "This is false. We've known him for 19 years. He is a blessing to us."

Perez appeared wearing a black v-neck top and his hands were secured in front of his waist. He listened to the proceedings using a telephone handset.

There were a few gasps when he first appeared on the video screen. There were also a few muffled tears. But otherwise the courtroom was quiet.

Perez is only the second priest to face criminal charges in Oregon since 1983, when the Rev. Thomas Laughlin was convicted of molesting two boys in Multnomah County.-- Kimberly A.C. Wilson








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