2 priests suspended over sex allegations

Chicago Sun-Times/August 22, 2006
By Abson M. Pallasch and Cathleen Falsani

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has suspended two priests from a Palatine parish amid allegations one of them sexually assaulted a 26-year-old man.

Palatine Police held the Rev. Juan P. Sanchez-Espinoza for 24 hours while they investigated the claims two weeks ago, but filed no charges.

The wife of the alleged victim, "John Doe," works at the parish, Misión San Juan Diego, which caters to Hispanic Catholics in the northwest suburbs. The Rev. Moises Marin is pastor.

Doe said the priests invited him for beers on Saturday night, Aug. 5.

"They kept telling me, 'Here, have another beer. Have some tequila,' " Doe told the Sun-Times in his native Spanish.

Doe refused the tequila, but drank the beer and some shrimp soup and passed out. He said he awoke after midnight to his wife calling on his cell phone and saw his shorts pulled down. He pulled up his shorts and underwear and fled the rectory as the priests implored him to stay, he said.

The next day, in flashbacks, he remembered waking and seeing Sanchez-Espinoza sitting in his lap, performing a sex act. He recalled the priest performing oral sex on him, he said. He also remembered one priest saying, "Always stay five feet away from them."

Doe said he then called Marin and asked exactly what happened. The pastor reportedly told Doe he was out of the room and that Sanchez-Espinoza admitted performing oral sex on Doe. But Marin felt bad about it, according to Doe, and wanted Doe to come to the rectory to pray with him.

Doe instead went to see his lawyer the next morning, who told him to go to the hospital. From there, he said, he went to police, who brought the priests in for questioning.

Adult conviction tougher

On Monday the Archdiocese posted a statement on its Web site saying Marin has been asked to "voluntarily absent himself" from the parish, and Sanchez-Espinoza has been placed on leave as a result of Doe's charge.

Unlike priests' sex acts with minors, acts between adults must be proven non-consensual in order to result in a conviction. That is difficult, especially when all parties were drinking, experts said.

Doe's attorney said another priest under Marin's watch was dismissed for similar actions two years ago, and he offered a parish bulletin from that time to back it up.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.