February 06, 2005

Cleric removed from priesthood

Amarillo Globe-News

Amarillo Globe-News

A former priest of Church of the Holy Spirit in Tulia accused of sexual abuse was recently removed from the priesthood by the Vatican.
The Rev. Michael Colwell, vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Amarillo, said the diocese received word about a week ago that Pope John Paul II had made the final decision to end John Salazar's employment as a result of proven inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor in California in the late 1980s.

Salazar pleaded guilty to two child-sex related charges in Los Angeles in 1987. He served three years in prison and was released to a treatment program for sex offenders before coming to the Amarillo diocese in 1991.

He is now awaiting a Dallas trial to face accusations of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old former parishioner in an Irving hotel room while the man was unconscious. The trial was delayed in August to give the prosecutors time to amend the indictment after they received information that Salazar allegedly committed other acts of sexual misconduct against victims in Swisher County, according to Globe-News files.

Until now, the diocese had to provide Salazar with a food allowance and money for basic sustenance, as well as medical insurance while he awaited trial. But as he has now been dismissed, Colwell said, the food and basic sustenance allowance ended immediately, and the medical care will be discontinued at the end of February.

Posted by kshaw at February 6, 2005 09:04 AM