Trial Delayed for Former Aurora Priest Accused of Sex Abuse
By Dan Campana
September 8, 2017
|Alfredo Pedraza-Arias (Kane County Sheriff's Office)|
As Kane County prosecutors continue their push to make sure former Aurora priest Alfredo Pedraza-Arias remains in the United States to faces sex abuse charges, the judge overseeing the case agreed to postpone his trial until November.
Arias, 51, is being held in Kane County Jail on allegations he fondled two girls under the age of 6 at Aurora's Sacred Heart Church between 2012 and 2014. Arias is also facing deportation to his native Colombia, an issue that arose in June and has prompted prosecutors to seek increases in Arias' bail amount in an effort to keep him in the country. A third motion to revoke or increase the bail, which suggests Arias asked to be voluntarily removed from the United States in an attempt to avoid prosecution, is scheduled to be heard soon by Kane County Judge Linda Abrahamson.
Arias' attorney, David Camic, wrote in a response to the motion that Arias simply asked for a "voluntary departure status," but a federal judge denied the request and then issued the deportation order. Additionally, Camic said prosecutors have no basis for continually seeking changes to Arias' bail because he hasn't been accused of violating bond conditions or committing any new crimes.
"His status with immigration does not, as a matter of law, bar him from bail," Camic stated in the filing, adding the prosecution's claim that Arias wants to be deported to skip out on his trial "is disingenuous."
Arias' trial had been slated to begin Sept. 18, but Abrahamson rescheduled it for a Nov. 27 start date as attorneys sort out subpoenaed information from the Diocese of Rockford and because attorney Sandra Parga, who was also representing Arias, withdrew from the case after being selected to become a judge. Camic said he needed time to find a bilingual lawyer to assist him moving forward.
Although the trial delay is attributed to the defense's request for a continuance, prosecutors noted some concern in a recent court filing about the timing of things should Arias again demand a speedy trial. As of Aug. 31, all but 14 days had elapsed on the 120-day limit involved when a defendant invokes their right to a speedy trial, according to prosecutors.
"Should (Arias) demand trial at some point, the (prosecution) will have approximately 14 days to prepare," the filing states.
Dan Campana is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.