Former Catholic and Anglican Priest to Stand Trial for 22 Sex Crimes
A former Anglican priest from Fresno accused of sexually assaulting nearly a dozen victims will stand trial. We applaud this move and hope this news encourages others who may have seen, suspected, or suffered his abuse to come forward and make a report to police.
Fr. Jesus Antonio Castaneda Serna is the former head of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Church in Fresno, CA. Prior to that he was a Catholic priest in Cowiche, Washington. However, he was fired by Church officials in the Diocese of Yakima, Washington. It was later revealed that Fr. Serna was accused of sexually abusing a man in that diocese.
The defense's plan to bully and discredit witnesses is disingenuous; these are wounded, frightened people who were preyed upon in part because they are undocumented immigrants. Many of them were afraid to report the sexual violence they experienced because of their immigration status. We call on California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to confirm their U Visa status so that hopefully this criminal trial can proceed on its merits and does not turn into a circus.
Fr. Serna's transformation from a Catholic priest to an Anglican priest, and then to a self-employed priest of his own, entrepreneurial church, is exactly the type of MO the Associated Press recently reported on when journalists tracked down the 2,000 living Catholic priests who are unmonitored. He is living proof of the danger such men pose.
CONTACT: Dan McNevin, SNAP California (firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-341-6417), Joey Piscitelli, SNAP California (email@example.com, 925-262-3699) Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org, 925-708-6175), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (email@example.com, 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)