Priest charged with sexual abuse faints in court as new allegations arise

The Chronicle, Illinois/March 17, 2010

St. Charles - After additional allegations of sexual misconduct were read aloud in court this morning, the priest charged with molesting a St. Charles boy fainted.

Alejandro Flores, 37, is charged with predatory criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual assault, and is in jail on $1 million bail.

During this morning's hearing, Flores' attorney Glenn Sowa asked Associate Judge Jordan Gallagher to reduce bail to $200,000 and allow Flores to attend a treatment facility for troubled clergy in Maryland.

As attorneys finished their arguments, Flores claimed - through his Spanish to English interpreter - that he didn't feel well and slowly crumbled to the floor.

The courtroom was cleared and Gallagher continued the hearing until tomorrow morning.

Sowa said Flores was sweating profusely and his color had gone before he went limp and fell to the floor. Assistant State's Attorney Deb Bree said she didn't see a change in color or sweating, but Flores swayed before slowly falling toward the floor.

Flores was taken back to the jail in a wheelchair to be treated by the nurse on staff, according to Sowa.

Before Flores' departure, Bree told Gallagher that there are other allegations besides the boy in St. Charles - who prosecutors say was molested by Flores over a period of five years, beginning in 2005 when the boy was 8-years-old.

Bree said the boy's brother has also said Flores attempted to touch him sexually. Additionally, a "fellow seminarian" told investigators that when he was 17 he had sexual contact with Flores.

The Rev. William Dewan testified that the Joliet Diocese will pay for Flores' treatment at St. Luke's Institute in Silver Spring, Md. Dewan is the head pastor at Holy Family Parish in Shorewood where Flores last served.

He also said that the diocese already provided psychological treatment to Flores in March 2009 after he was found viewing pornography depicting "young men."

Mary Ellen Thomas, a friend and English teacher to Flores, also testified that Flores will live in Joliet if he's released on bail, but she wasn't sure where. Flores is a citizen of Bolivia who is in the United States on a religious workers visa, according to attorneys.

Thomas also told Gallagher that she provided Flores with nearly all of his assets, which includes about $8,000 in stocks and about $5,000 in an IRA account. Flores also had about $7,600 in cash on his person when he was arrested and $11,126 in the bank, Thomas testified.

Flores was also given a Honda Civic by a friend, Thomas said.

Thomas was appointed power of attorney when Flores was arrested in January.

The diocese has said they will not pay for housing for Flores should he be released. If Gallagher agrees to the treatment in Maryland, Flores must be out of jail for 30 days before he can begin, Bree said.

It is unclear where he would live during that time. Flores has no family in the U.S., she said.

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