Priest of Oakland diocese arrested on child-abuse charges

Fr. Hector David Mendoza-Vela of Corpus Christi Parish in Fremont jailed on 30 counts of “lewd and lascivious acts” with a minor

Father Hector David Mendoza-Vela, 42, was arrested Thursday, March 28, 2019, on suspicion of 30 counts of child sex abuse. He was booked into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where he is awaiting an arraignment in Alameda County Superior Court. His bail was set at $900,000. (image from SF Chronicle)

The head priest of the Corpus Christi Parish in Fremont has been arrested on suspicion of 30 counts of child sex abuse, officials said Sunday.

The Rev. Hector David Mendoza-Vela, 42, was arrested Thursday and booked into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where he is awaiting an arraignment in Alameda County Superior Court. His bail was set at $900,000.

The abuse happened over an 18-month period in 2016 and 2017 and involved a child who was 14 and 15 at the time, according to Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated the case.

The abuse, described only as “lewd and lascivious acts,” happened at the victim’s Hayward home and in other locations, Kelly said. He did not provide further details on the victim or the acts.

The teen recently confided in an adult, who contacted law enforcement, Kelly said.

Mendoza-Vela’s diocese of origin was in Zacatecoluca, El Salvador, where he worked with altar boys and choir members in youth ministry, according to a biography on the Oakland Diocese website. He moved to the United States in 2008 and is a legal resident but not a U.S. citizen, according to the diocese.

Full story at San Francisco Chronicle.

Comments

  1. Rick Shaw says

    Rather than trusting Church officials, the correct thing was done — Church officials were bypassed, for reasons all too obvious, and law enforcement authorities were contacted directly as quoted above:

    “The teen recently confided in an adult, who contacted law enforcement.”

    This shows how much (or how little) the Church’s hierarchy can be trusted to do the right thing.

  2. Anonymous says

    Good grief. The Dallas Charter was completely meaningless. How much you wanna bet it was homosexual in nature? The Church deserves whatever it gets until it faces the problem honestly and effectively. Can’t wait to read the ineffectual, standard, lawyer-approved “statement of apology and disappointment” from the Oakland bishop.

    • Anonymous says

      Don’t forget, “We’re doing everything we can to keep our kids safe.” At what point do we have to admit they have lied to us? Don’t trust the hierarchy. Go to law enforcement.

    • Anonymous says

      The Dallas Charter was intended to be meaningless. Loopholes are there by design. Expect any Church solution to have engineered loopholes.

  3. Anonymous says

    What kind of letters of reference were sent to the Oakland Bishop, to verify this priest’s eligibility to serve in the Diocese?? Anything suspicious in the priest’s past history?? I believe frmly in calling police immediately, if a crime is suspected. Don’t waste time, and don’t rely on any institution — or church!! And bypass family — who may be scared! Go call police!! After that– make a report to the institution– or church — when the victim is safe!!

  4. It seems the seminary of origin has a lot to do with these problems. Seminaries have reputations that can be discerned fairly easily with the right questions to the right people. The staffing paradigm ruled by the “shortage” of priests needs to be reconsidered and better background checks conducted it would seem.

  5. Innocent until proven guilty. If guilt proven in a proper court, then defrock him before starting a long jail sentance.

    • It is only in court that the presumption of innocence applies. Public oponion is not bound by that standard.

  6. Anonymous says

    That picture is quite old. I saw the mugshot. He doesn’t look the same and he wasn’t smiling.

  7. Anonymous says

    Guess the sexual disorientation.

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