July 01, 2005

Ex-priest guilty of assault

The Dallas Morning News

07:23 AM CDT on Friday, July 1, 2005

By ROBERT THARP / The Dallas Morning News

A former Catholic priest with a history of molesting boys was convicted late Thursday of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man in an Irving hotel room.

Jurors deliberated nearly five hours before finding John Salazar guilty of sexual assault. As victims of Mr. Salazar hugged, he was led away to jail.

Mr. Salazar's punishment will be determined by Judge Gary Stephens after a hearing Wednesday. Because he is already a convicted sex offender, prosecutors will argue that the law requires that he be automatically sentenced to life in prison.

In the Irving case, Amarillo resident Beau Villegas testified that Mr. Salazar his family's longtime friend and priest sexually assaulted him after a wedding party the two had attended in September 2003.

Mr. Salazar was technically a priest at the time but had been stripped of all his duties and was no longer acting or dressing as a priest.

Mr. Villegas said the assault occurred after Mr. Salazar offered to take care of him after he had become ill from drinking 10 beers and at least three mixed drinks. He said he was too intoxicated to resist.

Posted by kshaw at July 1, 2005 07:27 AM