CA- Davis priest arrested for sexually molesting girl - Victims respond

CA- Davis priest arrested for sexually molesting girl - Victims respond

Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Western Regional Director, 949.322.7434, jcasteix@gmail.com

The sexual molestation of a child by a person in a position of power—especially religious power—is a crime.

The term "statutory rape" is troublesome. It implies that the victim—a child—has the power to consent to a sexual relationship with a much older adult in a position of power. Not only was Fr. Hector Coria an adult who should have known better, but he is also a priest with a moral and religious authority. And now, he has allegedly sexually molested a child. That is a crime with devastating effects on the victim, the community and the public.

We encourage Davis and Yolo County law enforcement to vigorously investigate this case, seek out other victims, and encourage witnesses to come forward. Coria has only been a priest for a short time, and we fear that there may be other victims from his time in the seminary and after his 2011 ordination.

We also urge Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto to reach out to the Spanish speaking communities where Coria worked, as well as the student community at UC Davis, where Coria conducted seminars and retreats. We beg Soto to act quickly and reach out to parishioners to ensure that they understand the gravity of Coria's alleged crimes and do not act in ways that alienate and re-victimize girls who may have been abused, as we saw in the case of Redding priest Fr. Uriel Ojeda.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

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