It was reported by CBS earlier this week that a San Diego priest who pleaded guilty to sexual battery in April has been permitted to return to his parish, amid shouts from both sides of the aisle. Some members of the community have expressed outrage at the reinstatement, while some parishioners support the priest’s return to his duties. The battery charge was apparently the result of a claim that the priest fondled a 19-year old woman at his home in December of last year. In April of this year, it was reported that the priest admitted to a battery charge, and according to news reports, it was stipulated in the case that the priest engaged in an unlawful touching of an intimate part of the woman’s body. In California, that conduct supports a charge of misdemeanor sexual battery in accordance with section 243.4(e) of the Penal Code.
Particularly vocal is a group called Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, or “SNAP.” A spokesman for the group expressed outrage that allowing the return would send a message that it’s alright to hurt people because you can still get your job back.
As a San Diego sex crimes lawyer, we don’t feels that it’s our role to take sides in the current debate. It does, however, point out some disturbing facts you will have to face if you are charged with a sexual offense:
- First, it is an emotionally charged issue, and no matter how little knowledge a person has as to what actually happened, you may be tried, convicted and sentenced in the press before your case is even heard.
- Second, the evidence in many sexual abuse cases, in particular a case such as misdemeanor sexual battery, consists largely of the testimony of the alleged victim, who may or may not be telling the truth.
- Finally, penalties for most sexual offenses are severe, including the real possibility of a lengthy jail term.
At Spiegel Law Group, we understand that all of our clients, no matter what the alleged offense, are innocent until proven guilty. If you have been charged with a sex crime, call us for a free consultation.
Spiegel Law Group
109 West C Street
San Diego, CA 92101