Former priest sought as Yuma County’s most wanted

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YumaSun.com 

October 18, 2011 7:39 PM

Juan Guillen

It took less than 24 hours after his release from prison for a former priest from Yuma who had been convicted of attempted child molestation to make Yuma County’s Most Wanted List.

Juan Guillen, who had been a priest for about 20 years at Immaculate Conception Church, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in July of 2003 by then-Superior Court Judge Tom Cole. He was also given lifetime probation for another count of attempted child molesting. Guillen pleaded guilty to both charges in a plea agreement.

Now 67, Guillen was released from the Arizona State Prison Complex on the morning of Oct. 6 and reported to the Yuma County Probation Office as he was required to do later that same day. However, he did not return the following day and has not been seen since. Nor has he made any effort to contact the probation office.

Conditions of the probation, which includes 40 hours of community service per month, were to begin after Guillen was released from prison. In addition, Guillen is required to register as a sex offender, which he has not done.

Guillen is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 132 pounds with grey hair and brown eyes. He is wanted for probation violations on his original convictions of attempted child molestation, both of which are felonies.

Before the plea agreement, Guillen had faced four counts of child molesting and eight of sexual conduct with a minor after admitting to having oral sex with and masturbating with altar boys. He was charged with sexual contact with young boys beginning in 1989 with a boy who was 10 years old at the time. The criminal complaint filed against him in 2003 alleged sexual conduct with another 10-year-old victim in 1994. The third boy was 13 when he was allegedly molested in May of 2003. The alleged sexual activity occurred in Yuma as well as in Mexico and Salinas, Calif., according to a court document.

If you have any information that would lead to the arrest of Guillen, call surveillance officer Beto Borquez, 329-2210, ext. 2342. If you know of his immediate location, call local law enforcement agencies or dial 911. Do not try to apprehend him yourself.

As a public service, the Yuma Sun publishes the names and photographs of the people sought by the Yuma County Adult Probation Department or U.S. Marshals Service as probation absconders.

James Gilbert can be reached at jgilbert@yumasun.com or 539-6854.

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Pervert Priest Wanted After Failing to Register as a Sex Offender

Phoenix New Times

Wed., Oct. 19 2011 at 11:41 AM

By James King

Juan Guillen, who was a priest at the Immaculate Conception Church for over 20 years before heading to prison for attempted child molestation, is a wanted man just days after getting released from prison.

Guillen was released from an Arizona prison on October 6. He checked in with the Yuma County Probation Department the day he was released, and hasn’t been heard from since.

He’s since been placed on Yuma County’s “Most Wanted” list.

Guillen pleaded guilty in 2003 to attempted child molestation, which was quite a bargain considering he initially faced four counts of child molesting and eight of sexual conduct with a minor after admitting to having oral sex with several altar boys starting in 1989.

From the Yuma Sun:

[Guillen] was charged with sexual contact with young boys beginning in 1989 with a boy who was 10 years old at the time. The criminal complaint filed against him in 2003 alleged sexual conduct with another 10-year-old victim in 1994. The third boy was 13 when he was allegedly molested in May of 2003. The alleged sexual activity occurred in Yuma as well as in Mexico and Salinas, Calif., according to a court document.

After pleading guilty in 2003, Guillen was sentenced to 10 years in prison and lifetime probation. He’s also required to register as a sex offender, which he hasn’t done.

Guillen is described as being 5-foot-6, 132 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information regarding Guillen’s whereabouts is asked to call call surveillance officer Beto Borquez at 928-329-2210, ext. 2342.

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Sex case involving former Yuma priest settled

YumaSun.com

June 01, 2009 7:10 PM

FROM STAFF AND AP REPORTS

The Diocese of Monterey, Calif., has agreed to pay a $1.2 million settlement and formally apologize to a man who said the church protected a Yuma priest and a California priest who had sexually abused him.

Bishop Richard Garcia will formally apologize to the man and his family, and the diocese also agreed Friday to release church documents detailing the abuse – two things the victim’s attorney said he wanted most.

The attorney, John Manley, said the documents will show the diocese “has blood on its hands” because church leaders failed to notify police when they first learned the boy was assaulted, allowing one of his abusers to subsequently molest the boy’s brother and others.

The settlement avoids a trial that was scheduled to start Monday.

Court records show the Rev. Juan Guillen of Immaculate Conception Church in Yuma began molesting the now 29-year-old victim in Yuma shortly after he immigrated to the United States as an 8-year-old in 1988. Guillen continued to visit the family after the family moved to Salinas and was so trusted he was allowed to sleep in the boy’s bed.

A second priest, the Rev. John Velez, allegedly began molesting the boy in 1991 while he worked at St. Mary of the Nativity Catholic Church in Salinas. Guillen reported Velez to local church officials after the boy told him about Velez’s abuse.

The victim previously settled with the bankrupt Diocese of Tucson for $600,000 over sexual abuse by Guillen.

In all, Guillen was accused by at least five victims of molesting them when they were minors beginning in the late 1980s and continuing on into the 1990s.

Guillen pleaded guilty in 2003 to two counts of attempted child molestation and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Monsignor Charles Fatooh, then-leader of the Monterey diocese, acknowledged in a pretrial deposition that neither he nor anyone else in the diocese alerted police, tried to protect the boy or tried to determine if there were other victims. Instead, Velez was removed from the parish and Fatooh called the diocese’s attorney.

Court documents said the attorney and another priest met with the victim’s mother and told her the abuse was the “sort of thing that happens to a lot of kids” and “not a big deal.” She said they refused her request for money to pay for counseling for the boy.

Velez eventually was turned over to a Mexican order, while Fatooh was later forced to resign his post after it was reported that another suspected pedophile priest was living in his Maryland condominium. He remains a parish priest in Cayucos, Calif.

Velez is believed to be serving the church in Latin America.

Paul Gaspari, who negotiated the settlement on behalf of the Diocese of Monterey, told Judge Lydia Villarreal on Friday that officials would make public most of the documents and depositions related to the case, except for records that could identify the victim.

Another diocesan priest, the Rev. Antonio Cortes, faces a preliminary hearing next week on charges that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy and possessed child pornography. Cortes was suspended as pastor of St. Mary of the Nativity after his April arrest.

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Judge gives Yuma priest 10-year prison term 

YumaSun.com

July 25, 2003 12:00 AM 

Yuma priest Juan Guillen was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday for a conviction of attempted child molesting.

In addition, Yuma County Superior Court Judge Tom Cole gave lifetime probation to the 59-year-old Guillen, who had been a priest for about 20 years at Immaculate Conception Church. The probation was given for another count of attempted child molesting. Guillen pleaded guilty to both charges in a plea agreement.

Conditions of the probation, which includes 40 hours of community service per month, is to begin after Guillen is released from prison. In addition, Guillen is required to register as a sex offender and pay various fees, including $650 for his court-appointed attorney.

In an Internet statement Thursday, Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas announced the beginning of procedures to defrock Guillen. “It is now appropriate for the Diocese of Tucson to begin a canonical process to seek Father Guillen’s removal from the clerical state,” Kicanas’ statement said.

“This is in keeping with our diocesan ‘Guidelines for the Response to and Prevention of Sexual Misconduct’ and with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and its protocols that were agreed upon by the bishops of the United States and were approved by the Holy See,” the statement stated.

Before announcing his sentence, Cole said it was difficult for him to decide what the sentence should be. He said he considered mitigating factors that included Guillen’s lack of a criminal record, the fact that he will be on probation for the rest of his life, the testimony of parishioners who have “unconditional love” for the priest, and “some degree of cooperation” Guillen showed by entering into a plea agreement that spared the victims more trauma.

However, Cole said the mitigating circumstances were more than offset by aggravating factors: The crimes were a “gross violation” of his position of trust as a priest, the emotional harm inflicted on his young victims and families, the long time period during which he committed his crimes – dating back to 1984 – and the fact that Guillen showed little remorse.

Cole said just before Wednesday’s hearing, he received a letter from Guillen in which the priest did express remorse and stated he was sorry for the harm he did to the victims and their families.

Victoria Thompson, Guillen’s attorney, in a written statement, said the decision to plead guilty was “terribly difficult” for her client. She pointed out if convicted of the charges filed against him, Guillen faced life imprisonment.

Thompson said she believes the sentence Cole meted out was appropriate and added it was a difficult decision for the judge. She also praised Roger Nelson, the prosecutor for the Yuma County Attorney’s Officer, for being “professional and reasonable throughout these proceedings.”

In addition, Thompson expressed gratitude to the members of Immaculate Conception Church who held fund-raisers to raise bail money for Guillen, as well as those who attended court hearings and wrote letters in support of her client. “This amount of dedication and faith deserves the greatest gratitude,” she wrote in the statement.

Kicanas, in his statement, pointed out the church is addressing the problem. “We will continue to act with strict adherence to the law and our policies,” Kicanas stated. “We are implementing our programs of education and screening to do everything that is humanly possible to protect our children from abuse and to provide safe environments.

“We also are seeking to work with all in the community to address the serious societal issue of child abuse,” Kicanas stated. He pointed out the allegations against Guillen were reported immediately by the Diocese to law enforcement and it cooperated fully with the investigation. In addition, the Diocese offered assistance to the victims, according to Kicanas.

“This response by the Diocese reflects the learning that has taken place within the Church,” he stated.

Kicanas said he will be in Yuma this weekend to celebrate Mass and to pray for healing and reconciliation. He said he is praying for everyone who was affected by “Guillen’s wrongdoing.”

Yuma police reported that in 1989 Guillen is suspected of fondling a boy in a chapel in Yuma. According to police, Guillen allegedly performed oral sex with the boy five years later. In the same year, 1994, police reported Guillen allegedly fondled another boy but was unsuccessful with sexual activity. However, in the same year, the priest allegedly took another boy to a trailer in the 900 block of 6th Avenue and had a naked massage. Guillen allegedly performed a sex act on the child, according to police

2 Responses to Former priest sought as Yuma County’s most wanted

  1. Sylvia says:

    Coddled in the Church and by the courts. Now he’s on the loose and on Yuma County’s Most Wanted list.

    That face is hard to forget. Keep an open eye. Who knows where this convicted-ex-priest-predator will surface? The fact that he is fresh out of jail and instantly in violation of his probation suggests to me that he has other plans. I fear for the safety of the children he encounters as he roams wherever – footloose and fancy-free.

    Guillen was laicized/”defrocked” in 2005.

  2. OLIVIA says:

    I totally agree! Whats wrong with our court system? I feel sooo sad for these young men who got molested.

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