The Norwalk Hour
Danbury priest in court Jan. 31 on sex charges
DANBURY — The former priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church accused of child abuse has a plea hearing scheduled later this month after being arrested on sexual assault charges.
The Rev. Jaime Marin-Cardona, 51, was charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, three counts of risk of injury to child and three counts of illegal sexual contact after turning himself in to Danbury police on a warrant.
He remains in custody on $500,000 bond and is due back in court Jan. 31. Court records indicate the incidents for which Marin-Cardona is charged occurred in 2014 and 2016.
Catholic officials said Marin-Cardona became the subject of an abuse investigation by police after he was seen driving a teenage boy alone in his car.
In September, a church official raised alarm after he saw MarinCardona driving the boy alone in his car, in violation of the church’s policies, said Diocese of Bridgeport spokesman Brian Wallace.
He said the Department of Children and Families was immediately notified, as well as Danbury police.
The diocese also received a letter indicating that “parents were concerned by Father Marin-Cardona’s contact with a family member who is a minor,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of the Bridgeport diocese, which oversees Danbury.
Caggiano said Marin-Cardona most recent service was at Saint Mary Parish in Bridgeport.
Before that, Marin-Cardona served at Our Lady of Guadalupe on Golden Hill Road in Danbury, and also previously worked at Saint Joseph Parish in Norwalk, and Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Bridgeport.
“In the initial interviews, the parents as well as the victim indicated that no abuse had occurred, and as a result, (Department of Children and Families) did not accept the report for further investigation,” the bishop said.
“However, the police continued its investigation and based on information obtained, DCF and the Danbury police both accepted the report for further investigation,” he added.
“My heart breaks for the victims, survivors, and their families who are struggling with this betrayal of trust and authority,” Caggiano said.
Marin-Cardona was placed on administrative leave Dec. 11, after the clergy’s Sexual Misconduct Review Board learned that the state Department
of Children and Families had substantiated allegations of abuse against him. He was arrested Jan. 3.
“In light of these developments, I want to reiterate that the Diocese is unshakably committed to combating the sexual abuse of minors, which is both a crime and grave sin, wherever it is found. We remain committed to standing with the victims and survivors of sexual abuse and to assist with healing in any way possible,” the bishop said.
Marin-Cardona is originally from Medellin, Colombia, and joined the Bridgeport Diocese nearly a decade ago, Caggiano said.
Following the arrest of Marin-Cardona, Caggiano commended “the continued vigilance” of those who reported their concerns to the Diocese, and said his “personal commitment is to do whatever is humanly possible to eradicate this evil from our midst.”
“This incident underlines the significance of being aware of the warning signs of possible abuse and the vital importance of observing our Safe Environments Policies,” he said. “I wish … to offer my profound and heartfelt apology to all who have suffered abuse, and to all those who have lost a sense of trust or feel betrayed by the Church.”