Catholic Priest in Philadelphia Arrested and Charged with Raping Teen Girl and Recording Sex Act
By Nanacy Dillon
March 5, 2019
|Rev. Armand Garcia is accused of rape while he was serving as a priest at a Philadelphia Catholic church. (Obtained by Daily News)|
A Catholic priest in Philadelphia has been charged with raping a teen girl, corrupting her morals and recording her in a sex act, court records and the priest’s lawyer confirm.
The Rev. Armand Garcia, 49, turned himself in for booking early Monday and posted his $250,000 bail hours later, his lawyer William J. Brennan told the Daily News.
The charges relate to offenses dating back to August 2014, court records state.
Brennan said prosecutors filed the corrupting a minor charge as a felony because they claim Garcia had an ongoing relationship with the teen.
“Obviously these are very serious charges, and we will take them seriously, but it is important to remember that Father Garcia is innocent until proven guilty,” Brennan said Tuesday.
The lawyer said the age of consent in Pennsylvania is 16.
“My understanding is the allegations come at a time when the complaining witness had reached the age of consent,” Brennan said.
Garcia was placed on administrative leave last March, the same day authorities served a search warrant on the rectory of his then-parish, St. Martin of Tours in the city’s Summerdale section.
He was ordained in 2005 and worked at the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Roxborough before being transferred to St. Martin of Tours.
According to The Inquirer, the charges relate to an alleged relationship Garcia had with a girl at Immaculate Heart.
Investigators believe Garcia offered the girl alcohol or marijuana before engaging in sexual contact with her in the parish rectory, his living quarters and other locations, sources told the newspaper.
Since his suspension last year, Garcia reportedly has lived in a private residence and has been banned from visiting any churches or schools.
“These charges are serious and disturbing,” Kenneth Gavin, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Archdiocese, said in a statement. “The Archdiocese is cooperating fully with law enforcement regarding this matter and remains fervently committed to preventing child abuse.”
Garcia is due back in court March 14 for a preliminary hearing, online court records show.
“I don’t know what the evidence is – if they have proof,” Brennan said Tuesday. “We’re going to take it one day at a time and pore over every single sentence of every document and check every frame of every video.”