Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Priest sentenced to 15 years for sexual assault of minor

A Catholic priest has been sentenced to 15 years in jail without parole for the sexual assault of a minor at a Coahuila seminary.

Juan Manuel “Padre Meño” Riojas Martínez was sentenced yesterday by a court in Coahuila that had issued a guilty verdict last week.

At the time of the crime Riojas was the director of a seminary in Piedras Negras and his victim was one of the minors in his care.

The sentence was handed down in a unanimous decision by the three judges overseeing the case after a seven-hour hearing.

The prosecution sought a sentence of 23 years, while the defense asked for a lesser sentence and an order that the priest wear an ankle bracelet and not serve the time in a penal facility. Both were denied.

Riojas has been in prison since August 2017 when he turned himself in after being a fugitive from justice for more than five months.

Riojas was also ordered to pay compensation, the amount of which will be established later by the court.

The plaintiff in the case, Roberto Javier Calzada Tamez, filed a formal complaint against Riojas in 2017, an accusation that preceded another by Ignacio Martínez Pacheco, who declared that Riojas abused him when he was 15 years old.

Since then, 11 accusations of pedophilia have been filed against Riojas and five other Catholic priests, leading to claims of a veiled “network of pedophiles” in the Catholic church in Coahuila.

The case is considered historic in the northern state as the bishop of Piedras Negras, Alonso Garza Treviño, was summoned as a witness, along with several priests and Riojas himself.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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