May 23, 2006

Santa Rosa Priest Removed After Misconduct


(BCN) SANTA ROSA The Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa announced Monday that the Rev. Xavier Ochoa, assistant pastor at St. Francis Solano Parish in Sonoma, was removed from the ministry after he voluntarily admitted a recent incident of sexual misconduct with a minor.

In a written statement Bishop Daniel Walsh said, "Consistent with diocesan policy, I have removed him from his duties as parochial vicar and have also removed his canonical faculties which exclude him from all public and private exercise of his priestly ministry."

Walsh said the incident was promptly reported to civil authorities and the diocese will cooperate with the investigation. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department is investigating Ochoa's admission.

Sgt. Dennis O'Leary said the investigation started the last week in April when the diocese contacted authorities. Ochoa has not been arrested. O'Leary said the case is unusual because the sheriff's department doesn't normally acknowledge an investigation is under way, but the diocese informed parishioners about Ochoa's admission.

Posted by kshaw at May 23, 2006 09:22 PM