Sex offender, former Catholic priest reportedly presided over Masses in Fillmore
By Tom Kisken
Ventura County Star
June 25, 2019
|Carlos Rene Rodriguez|
A former Catholic priest removed from ministry and convicted of molestation was reportedly presiding at home Masses in Fillmore, according to a May 30 alert from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The notice from the archdiocese's Vicar for Clergy Office to priests, deacons and parish life directors warns that Carlos Rene Rodriguez has no permission to act as a Roman Catholic priest. It said parishioners reported Rodriguez was celebrating Masses held at residences in Fillmore and surrounding areas.
Archdiocese officials said Rodriguez was removed from ministry in 1987 after being accused of abusing a teenager at St. Vincent Church in Los Angeles when he was part of the Vincentian religious order. After treatment and a return to limited ministry at a Santa Barbara retreat center, he left the religious order in 1993 ending his authority to serve as a priest in the archdiocese.
Archdiocese officials said he was laicized — removed from the priesthood — in 1998. The archdiocese includes Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and is the largest in the nation.
In 2004, he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of molestation from 1988 to 1993 — beginning after Rodriguez was sent to the retreat center — involving brothers from Santa Paula. He was incarcerated in 2004 and released in 2008, according to archdiocese officials in a written statement.
Archdiocese officials also said Rodriguez presented himself as a priest in 2016, using the name of Father Carlos Ramirez at a church not affiliated with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The May notice from the Vicar for Clergy Office said he was removed from ministering at the church.
An October lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court accuses Rodriguez of sexual abuse in the early 1990s when ministering at churches in Riverside County. He's also listed on the California Megan's Law website as a sex offender with his last known address being in Kern County.
The archdiocese's May alert regarding Rodriguez was posted on Facebook by a local deacon over the weekend and was shared more than 500 times.
Archdiocese officials said Tuesday they were unaware of any new reports involving Rodriguez presiding at home Masses since May 30. They said Fillmore and Ventura County law enforcement were notified about the services.
Sgt. Marta Bugarin, of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, which contracts with the city of Fillmore to provide law enforcement, said a check on Tuesday showed no recent contacts or reports regarding Rodriguez.