A CATHOLIC priest, dressed only in his knickers or a perhaps a swimsuit, went in hot pursuit of a 12-year -old boy who reportedly escaped a sexual assault in Woodburn, Oregon.
Rev Angel Armando Perez, parish priest at St. Luke Catholic Church in Woodburn, is now in custody, facing allegations including first-degree sexual abuse. furnishing alcohol to a minor and driving under the influence of alcohol.
It was close to midnight on Sunday, August 12, when Woodburn resident James Curths saw the 12-year-old boy running down the street toward him. Curths said the child, panting and out of breath, begged for help, telling him a man was chasing him.
Moments later, a man rounded the corner wearing only underwear. He stood a short distance away, trying to wave the boy over as Curths and his sister-in-law prepared to drive the boy to relatives.
Rodriguez and Curths, 35, told the man they were calling the police. Only then, they said, did the man jog away.
Later the he boy gave police a detailed account of the alleged sex abuse he said occurred at Perez’s home, leading to the priest’s arrest later Monday.
The Salem boy told authorities that Perez had asked his parents a few days earlier if he could take him on a trip to the mountains. He and his family attended a community church event on the Sunday night, and the 12-year-old went with Perez that night to the pastor’s house.
The boy told police Perez gave him a beer and they watched a movie. The boy told investigators that an air mattress was set up on the living room floor for him to sleep on. He said he fell asleep on the mattress. Later, the boy said, he was:
Woken up by a couple of flashes.
He said that when he opened his eyes, he saw Perez next to the air mattress, with one hand on the lad’s genitals and the othetr holding a cellphone. The boy discovered his underwear and shorts lowered to his knees, while Perez was dressed in underwear and a T-shirt.
The boy said he went to pack up his things when Perez went upstairs.
Father Angel called to him saying, “Come back to bed.” Instead, the boy said goodbye and ran off.
Curths, who was hosting a barbecue when the boy showed up outside his house, said he looked distraught.
He just seemed really terrified, and he was almost in tears.
When the pastor caught up to the boy outside Curths’ house, wearing what Curths and his sister-in-law said looked like a burgundy Speedo swimsuit, the boy hid behind Curths.
He was scared to death. It was like someone running from a ghost.
Curths said the boy told him that the man had “touched his privates.”
Later, according to an affidavit, Perez had driven to the boy’s home in Salem to talk to the boy’s mother and brother. The priest had a strong odor of alcohol and appeared intoxicated, the brother of the alleged victim said. He told police that Perez’s first statement was:
I am very sorry; I made a mistake. I am just one who serves in the church, and I have sinned; don’t stop believing in the church.
After his arrest, Perex told police that he drank too much at the community event. He said he and the boy were given a ride back to his Woodburn home. There, Perez said, he drank another beer, and they watched a movie.
He told police that at some point he blacked out and doesn’t remember what happened. Perez admitted he drove intoxicated to the boy’s home to apologize and find out what happened. He said he dropped to his knees and begged for forgiveness.
Hat tip: DC Brighton