Priest Denies Abuse Charges
Pleads Innocent in Calif. Court

Albuquerque Journal [New Mexico]
August 1, 2003

The Rev. Jose Superiaso, former associate rector at St. Francis Cathedral, pleaded innocent Thursday to 25 counts of child molestation in California.

Superiaso, 49, is accused of repeatedly sexual-assaulting a 12-year-old girl about eight years ago at a priests' residence in California. He faces 25 counts stemming from the alleged sexual assaults that occurred with the girl between July 1994 and November 1995.

Records at the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office show Superiaso remains in the county jail in Redwood City, Calif. Bail has been set at $2.5 million.

The priest appeared before a judge Thursday during an arraignment where he entered his plea, according to a records clerk at the District Attorney's Office. A judge will determine on Aug. 29 when to schedule a preliminary hearing on the charges. A preliminary hearing determines whether the state has probable cause to send the case to superior court.

In light of the allegations, Superiaso will not return to serve at the Santa Fe cathedral, according to its rector, the Rev. Jerome Martinez y Alire.

Superiaso had been with the cathedral for three years, and according to Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and Martinez, no complaints of sexual misconduct by Superiaso have been reported.

In a sermon at the cathedral following the arrest, Martinez encouraged parishioners to pray for Superiaso, whether he is innocent or guilty of the charges. He also encouraged them to tell church officials if they knew of anything untoward regarding the priest.

"We have a policy of zero tolerance of such behavior," Martinez said.

Superiaso was arrested June 10 after the woman, now 20, made her accusations to police. She called Superiaso, at the behest of Daly City, Calif., police, to meet her at a Daly City restaurant to talk about what happened between them.

Instead of meeting the woman, Superiaso found police officers waiting there to arrest him.


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