SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A Catholic priest pleaded guilty Monday to sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy he invited for a sleepover when he was pastor of a church in a small city south of Portland.
The Rev. Angel Armando Perez was sentenced to more than six years in prison after pleading guilty in Marion County Circuit Court to first-degree sexual abuse, DUI and furnishing liquor to a minor.
Perez, a former pastor at St. Luke Catholic Church in Woodburn, was arrested in August. The Salem child told police he woke up during a sleepover in Perez's home to find the priest touching his genitals and apparently taking photographs with a cellphone.
Police said the boy ran from the home with Perez chasing him. Neighbors took the boy to his sister's house.
Detectives wrote in their affidavit that the 47-year-old priest, a native of Mexico who has permanent legal residency in the U.S., told them he drank too much at a community event and doesn't remember what happened after he and the boy watched a movie.
Police said the boy told them the priest gave him a beer and he drank about half of it.
A grand jury indictment charged Perez with giving the boy alcohol on several occasions and accused the priest of evidence tampering. Marion County Deputy District Attorney Katie Suver said investigators believed Perez deleted a photo from his cellphone.
As part of Monday's plea agreement, additional charges of using a child in display of sexually explicit conduct and evidence tampering were dismissed, Suver said in a statement.
"We ask that everyone keep the victim and his family in their prayers," the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland said in a statement. "We also pray for healing and peace for the parishioners of the St. Luke Parish family."
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