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Fugitive priest in Mexican border city sought for rape of teen

April 7, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Fugitive priest in Mexican border city sought for rape of teen

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Coahuila state police officers are currently pursuing a Catholic priest from Piedras Negras who has been identified in court records as a suspect in the sexual abuse of at least one teen at a seminary.

The Coahuila Attorney General’s Office had issued an arrest warrant for Father Juan Manuel “Padre Meño” Riojas Martinez for the sexual abuse of a minor, La Prensa reported.

Police officers are expected to apprehend Riojas Martinez shortly and take him before judicial authorities as part of the ongoing investigation.

The charges against the priest occurred after a now 18-year-old student at the seminary contacted Coahuila State Prosecutors claiming he had been sexually abused multiple times during his time at the seminary in Piedras Negras. The priest has allegedly been in hiding for several weeks since the scandal went public.

Juan Manuel Riojas Martinez “Padre Meño” is sought for the sexual abuse of a teen in Pedras Negras

The victim has since relocated to another state to continue his education, along with counseling.

During an impromptu press conference, the teen said that he spoke with Alfonso Gerardo Garza, the bishop in Piedras Negras, back in December.

The teen said that rather than offer assistance or protection, the bishop asked him to be quiet and not to share the incident with anyone. The victim has also called upon other seminary students to come forward. Local press outlets have spoken with another male who claims he suffered abuse by the priest but never pressed charges.

Bishop Garza published a video on the diocese’s website and Facebook in response to the case, offering the church’s account of what happened.

“We face a difficult time,” Garza stated. “They have published false information and with bad intentions about persons and institutions of our church.”

Garza said that he received a complaint about “an incident of misconduct with a priest.” He claims that he sent notice to the Vatican and called local police.

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