Police Arrest Philadelphia Pastor Accused Of Rape, Sexual Abuse Of Minor
CBS 3 Philly
March 5, 2019
A Philadelphia pastor has been arrested in connection to an allegation of rape and sexual abuse of a minor. Philadelphia police arrested 49-year-old Armand Garcia on Monday morning.
Garcia, who was previously a pastor at Saint Martin of Tours Parish in Philadelphia, was placed on administrative leave last March while police investigated a report of alleged misconduct with a minor, according to a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
According to the archdiocese, at the time of the allegation, Garcia had a clean criminal background and passed child abuse clearances.
The alleged crimes happened from 2014 to 2017. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia knew of the allegations since last year, but parents just found out Tuesday.
Garcia has been charged with rape, sexual abuse, and corruption of minors.
Parents of children who attend Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Philadelphia are sounding off.
“I feel like it was swept under the rug,” parent Eugene Iacovelli said. “I feel like it was purposely hidden from the school and hidden from the parishioners.”
“Why didn’t the church say anything right away when he was moved to another parish?” Iacovelli asked. “I think it’s very disappointing and it’s disgusting. As a parent you worry about sending your kid here. I’m very deeply disturbed.”
Garcia was ordained in 2005. He served at the following parishes, schools, and offices: Saint Joseph, Downington (2005-2008); Saint Eleanor, Collegeville (2008-2009); Saint Katherine of Siena, Philadelphia (2009-2010); personal leave (2010-2011); Our Lady of the Assumption, Strafford (2011); Immaculate Heart of Mary, Philadelphia (2011-2017); and Saint Martin of Tours, Philadelphia (2017-2018).
William Brennan, Garcia’s lawyer, told Eyewitness News that the “public rushes to convict” in cases like this.
“I would hope that the public would look at Armand Garcia the same way I’m looking at him, as if he was Armand Garcia the bricklayer, or the carpenter, or the car salesman. He’s a citizen of our country that’s been accused of very serious crimes. He enjoys the presumption of innocence and we are going to aggressively defend this case,” said Brennan.
If you would like to report an allegation of sexual abuse or any other criminal activity perpetrated by a priest, deacon, employee, or volunteer of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, contact your local law enforcement agency and/or the Office for Investigations at 1-888-930-9010.