Catholic priest sen­tenced to prison for mo­lest­ing teenager

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - News -

DUBLIN, Calif. (AP) — A Catholic priest who pleaded no con­test to sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a North­ern Cal­i­for­nia teenager for more than a year has been sen­tenced to nearly five years in prison.

KPIX-TV re­ports the Rev. David Men­doza-Vela, was sen­tenced Fri­day.

Pros­e­cu­tors say Men­doza-Vela be­gan mo­lest­ing the boy in June 2016 when the vic­tim was 14.

The 42-year-old priest was orig­i­nally charged with 30 counts of lewd acts on a child.

Twenty-five counts were dis­missed as part of a plea deal.

Men­doza-Vela, who has since apol­o­gized to the boy, must reg­is­ter as a sex of­fender and stay away from his vic­tim for at least 10 years.

Or­dained in 2013, he was most re­cently as­signed to the min­istry at Fre­mont’s Cor­pus Christi Catholic Church.

He was placed on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave af­ter his March ar­rest.

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