With New Information, New Questions Arise in Aurora Priest Sex Abuse Case
By Hannah Leone
October 7, 2017
|Alfredo Pedraza-Arias (Kane County Sheriff's Office)
Alfredo Pedraza-Arias, 51, has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, which allege that he sexually abused two girls at Aurora's Sacred Heart Church between 2012 and 2014, when both girls were younger than six. He appeared in custody in the courtroom Friday, along with his attorney, David Camic; Assistant State's Attorney Reagan Pittman; a representative from the Rockford Diocese; and a Spanish translator.
Abrahamson said the trial, slated for November, may be affected by whether lawyers have access to a man who investigated the case for the Kane County Child Advocacy Center.
New material disclosed last week includes notes about interviews the investigator conducted that weren't turned in when they should have been, Camic said.
While lawyers would like to speak to the investigator, it was not clear if he remained with the Child Advocacy Center. The Kane County State's Attorney's office would not confirm the investigator's employment status, stating they don't comment on personnel matters.
Both Pittman and Camic said they also had concerns about 200 new pages of information from the Catholic diocese. The judge ordered the diocese to address her questions about parts of the material within 14 days.
Meanwhile, a deportation order signed in June by a federal immigration judge means Arias could still be sent back to Colombia, where he is from. 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.
At a June federal hearing, Arias asked a judge to remove him from the country, prompting a judge to issue a deportation order, the Beacon-News reported. He waived his right to appeal the deportation order, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa.
"(Arias) is trying to use his deportation to avoid trial in this case and is trying to flee the jurisdiction," prosecutors stated in court filings.
In attempts to keep Arias away from immigration officials, the Kane County judge granted prosecutors' motions to raise his bail and remand him to the custody of the county judicial center. The first time, 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 another $100,000, and Arias returned July 28 to the jail, where he remained Friday evening.
Though prosecutors in September sought to have Arias' bond revoked, Pittman on Friday said his pending deportation is no longer a pressing concern. She cited the length of time he has been back in jail as an indicator he would remain there. Camic said the parishioners who came up with earlier bonds had run out of money.
Immigration officials previously said they would take Arias back into custody if he were released from the jail again and execute the deportation order once his criminal case goes through the court system.