Fresno Anglican Priest Charged With Abuse Sued in Civil Court, Too
A Fresno Anglican priest who is facing criminal charges for sex crimes in California has been sued by two men who testified against him. We hope this lawsuit will encourage other victims to come forward and will also bring those who may have information or suspicions out of the woodwork.
Fr. Jesus Serna, also known as “Fr. Antonio,” has been charged with alleged serial sexual misconduct against adult parishioners who came to him for counseling and advice. First arrested in February of last year, Fr. Serna worked as an Anglican cleric from 2008 to 2017. The clergyman had previously worked as a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Yakima, Washington, from 1997 to 2006. Fr. Serna allegedly targeted undocumented Spanish speakers because, we fear, he knew that cohort would be less likely to report to the police. Given the charges brought against him and his unceremonious departure from the Catholic Church, it is not hard to imagine that Fr. Serna has victims elsewhere who may be similarly afraid to come forward.
We hope that the filing of this lawsuit will encourage other survivors of Fr. Serna, as well as those who may have knowledge about his behavior, to come forward and make a report to their local police and prosecutors. We also once again urge Anglican officials in Fresno and Catholic officials in Yakima to publish the information about Fr. Serna in their parish bulletins and websites and to conduct outreach to encourage victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers to come forward.
In addition, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is actively investigating cases of clergy abuse. We encourage anyone who may have been abused, and especially those who are undocumented, to come forward to and make a report to his independent hotline. Any reports will be taken seriously regardless of the immigration status of those making a report.
CONTACT: Dan McNevin, SNAP Board Member (firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-341-6417), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator, (email@example.com, 925-708-6175), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org, 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)