April 23, 2005

Former Priest Sentenced to 6 Years for Molestation

Los Angeles Times

By Caitlin Liu, Times Staff Writer

In an emotional hearing that at times sounded more like a church revival, a Los Angeles judge Friday sentenced a former Catholic priest to six years and eight months in prison for molesting three boys.

Fernando Lopez "took advantage of his position of trust to commit the crimes," said Superior Court Judge Ruth Ann Kwan as the former priest's supporters tearfully clasped their hands in prayer in the packed courtroom. "The defendant robbed the victims of their innocence and scarred them for life."

A jury found the onetime priest at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Koreatown guilty last month of sexually abusing three teenage boys in his parish from 2001 until last year. On Friday, two of them returned to court to speak out against him.

"This man has destroyed my life, my heart. Worst of all, he killed my faith," said one who is now 23. "I will never be the same."

Posted by kshaw at April 23, 2005 07:32 AM