Few clergy who fled the U. Sinceat least 32 Roman Catholic priests have left the United States for foreign countries while facing criminal charges or a police investigation over allegations that they sexually assaulted or abused minors, according to federal warrants, news reports and law enforcement sources. Only five have been returned to the U. The of fugitive priests grows by more than two dozen if it includes those who left the country while facing internal church probes or civil allegations of child sex misconduct, instead of a criminal investigation, and those who were transferred to foreign countries by church authorities before or after allegations surfaced.
Many have maintained their innocence.
Authorities also have pursued religious leaders from other faith traditions who fled the U. Policetti was charged in with 20 counts of criminal sexual assault and abuse of a year-old girl. Policetti fought extradition in court in New Delhi for years.
The charges are now in jeopardy because a lawyer for the alleged victim has indicated she may not want to pursue prosecution. Policetti was barred from ministry in Hyderabad, India, inthree weeks after he fled the U. Jeyapaul, charged with sexually assaulting a year-old girl who came to him to discuss being a nun, was arrested in India on March 16 and is being held pending a formal extradition request, the Associated Press reported.
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In India, he had been prohibited from direct contact with children but served as secretary of a diocesan commission that hired teachers for 40 parish schools. Ochoa was charged in with raping and molesting at least three children from different families. Ochoa remained a fugitive untilwhen he was reportedly found dead in Mexico.
Beltran fled before he was charged with molesting at least two young girls from to He served as a priest in Mexico until he was defrocked by the church. He was arrested in Mexico City in and held for five months pending extradition to the U. After pleading guilty to molesting parishioner, Urbina fled the country before he was sentenced.
He then served as a priest for about a decade. Urbina was defrocked by the church but remained a fugitive. Garcia fled to Mexico in after a dozen felony molestation charges were filed against him in Yolo and Colusa counties in California.
Mexico agreed to prosecute Garcia on the U. The church defrocked Garcia, who also was accused in a lawsuit of abusing children between and at three California parishes. Aguilar-Rivera fled as he was being investigated in over allegations that he molested children at two Los Angeles parishes.
He was charged that year with 19 counts of molesting 10 children. After fleeing the U. The church defrocked him inand he reportedly remains at large. Briceno was indicted in on six counts of sexual conduct with a minor dating to the s, as well as abuse. The male victim came forward years after the alleged incidents, which s for the delay in filing charges. The church removed Briceno from active duty in and removed him permanently from public ministry in Still, Briceno worked as a priest in Mexicali, Mexico, until his capture there in Briceno was returned to Phoenix, where he pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual conduct with a minor and was sentenced to two years in prison.
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Omemaga was charged with 39 felony counts of child molestation and sex crimes involving a year-old girl whom he took with a group of teenagers on a field trip to see the pope in Denver. Omemaga fled after church officials met with him and urged him to contact police. The FBI filed a federal warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution inbut Omemaga remains at large. Onyia was charged in with repeatedly sexually assaulting a mentally handicapped teenage girl.
The church placed Onyia on administrative leave and ordered him to move to a rectory in another city in Texas, but he fled to his native Nigeria. He worked in parish ministry there, and remains at large. Henn was charged with 13 felony counts involving a boy who was younger than He remains at large and is listed as a fugitive on the Interpol website. Brett was accused in civil lawsuits of abusing more than 20 young male students as the church transferred him among parishes in four U.
Inthe bishop of Bridgeport, Conn. Brett was charged in with custodial child abuse and a second-degree sexual offense, though prosecutors eventually withdrew those charges for technical reasons. Maarten and determined he was living in a condo near an opulent resort.
He soon disappeared again. The church defrocked Brett that year.
He died in after apparently falling down stairs on the island of Martinique. Widera was charged in with 42 counts of molestation involving boys as young as Fargo in Milwaukee and California from to Widera was barred from ministry in in Orange County, Calif.
He remade himself as a businessman, then fled after he was charged in filipina He died in Mexico in after reportedly leaping from a hotel window as Mexican authorities closed in on him. Jayawardene was charged in with six counts of oral copulation involving a year-old boy. Jayawardene disappeared during a police investigation and remains a fugitive, although U.
Anthony was charged in with gross sexual imposition, sexual assault and disorderly conduct in connection with alleged incidents involving three boys aged 13 to Anthony fled as police sought him for questioning, and reportedly remains at large. Bazalar was charged in dating sodomizing a year-old altar boy.
He fled while on bail. Arrested by Canadian police as he prepared to travel to his native Peru, Bazalar was extradited to the U. Allegations surfaced in that Chavarin had abused two youths between andThe Associated Press reported. San Diego police told the AP they had received a letter from an attorney representing two people who claimed they were abused. Chavarin apparently fled after officials with the Archdiocese of San Francisco, where he had worked for 11 years, confronted him about the allegations, a diocesan spokesman told the AP.
The diocese later received phone calls saying Chavarin was in his native Mexico, the AP reported.
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Cordova was charged in with 10 counts of sexually abusing two minors from to Police said Cordova fled first to Ecuador and then to Spain; in Spain, he was detained by authorities who ultimately determined that extradition could not be supported because of the age of the charges.
Cordova then returned to Ecuador, where Tucson police learned that he continued to associate himself with the church in an unknown capacity. A warrant remains in effect in Tucson. Cuello was arrested in and charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a year-old altar girl. Cuello fled the U. He was captured in in Ecuador, pleaded guilty in Texas and was sentenced to life in prison.
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He was defrocked by the Vatican after his conviction. Desilets was charged in with more than 20 acts of sexually abusing more than a dozen altar boys. Extradited from Canada inDesilets pleaded guilty to multiple charges and served 17 months. He has since died.
Keegan was indicted in on counts of child molestation involving five Bay Areren in the s. Keegan was captured in in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he had been working at an orphanage. But that year he was one of hundreds of individuals accused of attacking children who were freed after a U. Supreme Court decision struck down a California law that had extended the statute of limitations on child sex charges.
Kelly was charged in with misdemeanor counts of child molestation and sexual battery for allegedly fondling a 9-year-old girl. Kelly fled to his native Ireland after learning he was under investigation, despite his assurances to the church that he would remain.
Kelly denied the allegations. Manzo came under Tucson, Ariz. After being summoned to a closed-door meeting with the Tucson bishop, Manzo disappeared, and Tucson diocesan officials suspended him from ministry. A Tucson police investigation determined that several youth had surfaced with allegations of molestation by Manzo during the s and that the archdiocese responded by moving him to new parishes after conducting internal investigations.
Tucson police said the case remains ased to a detective but Manzo is listed as a missing person and is not the subject of a pending warrant. Law enforcement officials investigated Montero in for allegedly molesting a 3- or 4-year-old girl that year. Montero was arrested and booked into jail in Hennepin County, Minn.
Hennepin County prosecutors ultimately did not file charges, citing insufficient evidence, and closed the case. Mowat was charged in Atlanta with molesting four altar boys. He left the country in the midst of the investigation in and was extradited to the U. Under the terms of his release, Mowat was sent back to England and forbidden to leave until his probation expired in He also agreed to have no unsupervised contact with children and to stay in contact with his probation officer.
But ina U.