Former priest charged with sex abuse in Aurora faces deportation

By Dan Campana
Chicago Tribune
July 12, 2017

Alfredo Pedraza Arias

Alfredo Pedraza Arias, the former Aurora priest charged with fondling two young girls, has been detained by immigration officials and faces deportation to his native Colombia, court records show.

Arias, 50, has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving the girls who were under the age of 6 at the time of the incidents at Sacred Heart Church in Aurora which occurred between 2012 and 2014, according to Kane County prosecutors.

Arias was free on $50,000 bail until officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement took him into custody May 4. A month later, on June 14, he was ordered to be deported, court records show.

In light of that, prosecutors have asked Kane County Judge Linda Abrahamson to revoke or increase Arias' bail to ensure he remained in the country for his trial, which originally was scheduled to begin July 31, but has been continued to a yet-to-be-determined date.

Abrahamson agreed to raise the bail amount by $100,000. Arias is currently being held by ICE at a facility in Kenosha, Wis., records show.

Charged in February 2016, Arias had been out the ministry since October 2014 while police and the Rockford Diocese investigated allegations against him. Arias also worked in Aurora at Our Lady of Good Counsel and with DeKalb's Hispanic Ministry, according to the diocese.

Prosecutors are seeking to introduce a previously uncharged incident involving Arias and a 3-year-old girl during his time in DeKalb, a recently filed motion states. The girl claimed Arias fondled her while her mother attended church, an encounter prosecutors believe is "substantially similar" to the charges against him In Kane County.

"The fact that the uncharged conduct involves a separate victim is not, in and of itself, prejudicial to the defendant," the motion states.

Arias' attorney has not yet filed a response to the request. Arias is scheduled to return to court Aug. 10.


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