Trial date stands for accused Aurora priest facing deportation

By Hannah Leone
August 8, 2017

Alfredo Pedraza Arias

A Kane County judge decided not to move up the jury trial of a former Aurora priest facing deportation along with felony charges of child sex abuse.

Prosecutors last week filed a motion asking for the trial of Alfredo Pedraza Arias to start sooner. However, Kane County Judge Linda Abrahamson Monday ordered the trial date to remain Sept. 18.

Arias' attorney, David Camic, said it "didn't make sense" to try an earlier start. The trial would only have been moved up a week, he said, and people were already subpoenaed for the proceedings as scheduled.

Meanwhile, a deportation order signed in June by a federal immigration judge means Arias could be sent back to Colombia, where he is from, at any time. If that happens, prosecutors could ask to have him tried in absentia, but they've said it's unclear whether that would work or if he could be extradited for proceedings.

Arias has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, which allege he sexually abused two girls at their Aurora Catholic church between 2012 and 2014, when both girls were younger than 6 years old. He also waived his right to appeal the deportation order, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services revoked Arias' temporary religious worker nonimmigrant visa in September, six months after he was indicted in Kane County, Zamarripa confirmed. With Arias' U.S. immigration standing out of status, immigration officials assigned to the Chicago Fugitive Operations Team arrested him in May, while he was out on bond on $50,000 bail. Camic said immigration officials took Arias into custody outside a courtroom after a hearing.

In attempts to keep Arias away from immigration officials, the Kane County judge has twice granted prosecutors' motions to raise his bail and remand him to the custody of the county judicial center. The first time Abrahamson raised Arias' bail by $100,000 and remanded him to the jail, someone came up with the additional $10,000 bond and he was released, only to be picked up again by immigration officials. Prosecutors made another request, Abrahamson raised bail by the same amount, and Arias returned on July 28 to the Kane County jail, where he was still listed in custody as of 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Immigration officials have said they would take Arias back into custody if he were released from the jail again and that they plan to execute the immigration judge's removal order once Arias' state criminal charges are adjudicated and he's transferred to the custody of immigration officials.



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