Suffern Priest Accused of Rape Faces More Charges Following Grand Jury Indictment
By Christopher J. Eberhart
February 27, 2020
A Suffern priest accused of raping two women faces more charges after he was indicted by a grand jury in Rockland County Court on Wednesday.
Fidel Hernandez, 51, was indicted on charges of first- and third-degree rape as well as three counts of first-degree criminal sexual act and three counts of third-degree criminal sexual act.
He was originally charged with first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching.
“This indictment sends the message that this office will prosecute those whom are to be trusted by their congregants," Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Walsh said in a statement. "We cannot turn a blind eye to clergy sexual abuse cases. I hope that this indictment encourages others who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to come forward and make a report to their local police or district attorneys."
|Fidel Hernandez, a clergy member of the Tagaste Monastery and Sacred Heart Church in Suffern, faces a rape charge, among others. (Photo: Suffern Police Department)|
The Rockland District Attorney's office urges anyone who knows of a potential victim, or has been a victim themselves, to contact the local police department or the Rockland County District Attorney’s Special Victims Unit.
Hernandez was a priest in the Tagaste Monastery and Sacred Heart Church in 2018, when the alleged incidents occurred.