Colombian Seminarian Pleads Innocent to Rape

By Rachel G. Thomas
August 26, 1995

FALL RIVER — Before police arrived at Cathedral Camp Thursday evening to talk to 28-year-old seminarian Alexander Delgado, a nun there asked him what he thought he had done to merit their attention.

Mr. Delgado's answer surprised her: "Is it because I fondled (a woman's) breast last Thursday?" the nun told police.

That wasn't it.

Mr. Delgado learned, when Freetown Police Sgt. Alan Alves arrived, he was accused of raping a 26-year-old New Bedford woman Wednesday night on the camp grounds.

Sgt. Alves said the accuser's name was not the same as the name Mr. Delgado mentioned to the nun. Prosecutors described the exchange during Mr. Delgado's arraignment Friday in 2nd District Court.

"That's why we are continuing our investigation," Sgt. Alves said following Mr. Delgado's court appearance.

Mr. Delgado, a citizen of Colombia, pleaded innocent to the rape charge and was ordered held on $25,000 cash bail by Judge Robert J. Kane.

Assistant District Attorney Cynthia Vincent said during the arraignment the victim told police she had become friendly with Mr. Delgado when he worked in her parish, Our Lady of Guadalupe, in New Bedford's South End.

The victim, married and the mother of two children, said she had sought counseling for marital problems and turned to Mr. Delgado, a sixth-year seminarian. He was at Cathedral Camp on recess from his studies at Holy Apostle College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn.

Seminary officials Friday declined comment on Mr. Delgado's records, saying he was under the supervision of the Fall River Diocese.

Police said Mr. Delgado was visited by several priests while in custody awaiting his arraignment, but none appeared in the courtroom.

The victim told police she went to the camp Wednesday night to meet with Mr. Delgado at his request, when she mentioned feeling troubled about her marriage. Reading from a report, Ms. Vincent said at about 7:30 p.m., Mr. Delgado suggested to the victim they walk in the retreat area, where they continued to talk, sitting on some rocks by the edge of Long Pond.

Suddenly, the victim told police, Mr. Delgado began kissing her. She pushed him away and said she did not want to have sex with him, but he forced himself upon her and raped her.

The victim did not go to police immediately, prosecutors said. "She went to work the next day, but when she was in a meeting, her co-workers noticed she was very distraught, and asked her what was wrong," Ms. Vincent said.

Police said the victim was still unable to speak about the alleged assault for some time.

"We talked to her for two hours, but we have to talk to her again," Sgt. Alves said. He and Freetown Police Officer Susan Jose went to Cathedral Camp on Friday, taking photographs and speaking with staff.

Attorney Daniel Sullivan, who works with a law firm that represents the Fall River Diocese, represented Mr. Delgado.

Mr. Sullivan, arguing for a low bail for his client, said Mr. Delgado had no family in this country and could not post a high bail. Mr. Sullivan said Mr. Delgado had an apartment in New Bedford and had spent much time in the area, working with parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Sgt. Alves said the victim, who was treated at St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford, did not appear to have been physically injured during the alleged assault but was "mentally brutalized." He added there was physical evidence of an assault.

A probable cause hearing on the case is scheduled for Sept. 1.


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