In court, Roxborough woman recounts alleged rape by priest also charged with making sex tapes

As a teenager committed to her Roman Catholic faith, she thought she was doing everything right. She volunteered as an altar server at her Roxborough parish. She sang in the choir and worked nights and weekends as a fill-in secretary at the church office.

And even when, at 16, she gave in to the sexual advances of her priest — the Rev. Armand Garcia — she said she believed him when he told her that God had put him in her life to take care of her.

Then came the time she refused.

“He came up from behind me and pushed me up against a wall. He held my arms down and spread my legs apart,” the now-21-year-old testified in a Philadelphia courtroom Thursday. “I was wearing my school uniform. I didn’t know what to do.”

That alleged 2014 assault in the rectory of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish now forms the basis of one of the first criminal prosecutions of an area priest since the Archdiocese of Philadelphia recommitted to cracking down on sexual offenses after a scathing 2011 grand jury investigation that led to charges against six clerics.

The testimony of the woman — offered publicly for the first time Thursday — serves as the backbone of the government’s case. The Inquirer is withholding her name because she is an alleged victim of sexual assault.

Her composed and self-assured account persuaded Munic...

Read the rest of the story here.

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant