The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Statement Regarding former California priest
Fr. Nicolas Aguilar


December 1, 2004

Statement by SNAP Spokesperson, Eric Barragan of Ventura County
(805) 207-7424

We are here again today because we are deeply troubled that a known serial child molester, Father Nicolas Aguilar, has not been prosecuted for the crimes he committed against children both in Mexico and in the USA.

A year ago, we personally delivered a letter here to President Vincente Fox urging him to take steps to bring Aguilar to justice and protect kids from known and accused molesting priests in Mexico. We met with Salvador Jimenez Munoz, Alternate Consul for the Mexican Consulate here in Los Angeles. We have not received a response to our letter.

Last week, a young Mexico City man, who was allegedly abused by Aguilar in 1996 contacted LA SNAP leaders seeking support and protection for kids in Mexico. In response, local SNAP leaders are going to Mexico City this week to support this brave survivor and reach out to others still suffering in guilt, shame and silence.

Because of Fr. Aguilar, kids in Mexico are at risk and adults in California are hurting or fearful. Mexican kids are exposed to a child molester. California parents wonder if their children were abused by Aguilar. And some California adults are still wounded because of Aguilar's crimes against them as children.

Despite victimizing dozens of children in the USA and Mexico, we believe that Fr. Aguilar is still in active ministry in Mexico today.

We are convinced that numerous children in Mexico and the USA have needlessly been put at risk and victimized by this priest.

We are also convinced that President Fox can help these victims come forward to police without fear of harm and take the necessary steps to bring Aguilar and other child predators to justice in Mexico and California.

We know that child molesters rarely stop molesting, and we believe that Mexican and USA authorities know that, too.

It is no secret that pleas for protection from Aguilar were ignored or rebuffed.

It is also no secret that for decades Catholic church officials have knowingly aided, abetted, and shielded known molesters from prosecution by transferring them to new parishes, new dioceses, and sometimes new countries. Worse, church officials sometimes sent these abusers to countries where prosecution of child sexual abuse rarely occurs and where vulnerable, devout parishioners are even less likely to report the crimes.

Fr. Nicolas Aguilar (also Augilar) fled the USA to Mexico in 1988 to escape from criminal charges. Aguilar worked in California and was charged with 19 counts of child molestation. Church officials facilitated his flight to Mexico to avoid prosecution here for these most heinous crimes.

In 1995, Mexican prosecutors finally took the case to a judge, who dismissed it as too old to prosecute. Detective Gonzales, who serves in the Police Department's foreign prosecution unit and worked on the Aguilar case said, "I don't know what happened in Mexico." "I can't tell you if it was planned or if it just happened."

Sadly, it is rare that Catholic priests have been prosecuted for sex crimes against minors, primarily because of their position of unquestionable trust and authority. This is overwhelmingly not the case with non-clergy who committed such crimes.

Today, we are urging President Fox again to take the following steps to bring Aguilar to justice, protect children from predatory priests, and help heal the victims and their families who are already hurt:

-Demand an investigation to explain why Aguilar has not been prosecuted.

-Publicly reach out to victims and urge anyone who was harmed by Aguilar, or who suspects or witnessed abuse, to contact criminal authorities.

-Seek further evidence of such abuse crimes and explore additional legal approaches to prosecution, including working with prosecutors in the USA.

-Treat abusive priests like everyone else who commits heinous crimes.

Where there is a will, there IS a way.

With determination, we believe prosecutors CAN find ways to put dangerous predators, like Aguilar, behind bars where they will never harm another child. It is what we believe the people of Mexico and the people of the USA want. But, more important, it ensures the protection ALL children deserve.

Mary Grant, SNAP Western Regional Director (626) 419-2930 cell
Esther Miller, SNAP Spokesperson (562) 673-9442 cell
David Clohessy, SNAP National Director (314) 566-9790 cell

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests