Crime, Fire + Courts

Accused St. James priest arraigned

By From page A1 | June 11, 2014


The Rev. Hector Coria enters a Yolo Superior Courtroom on Tuesday afternoon to face felony sex charges. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

WOODLAND — A St. James Catholic Church priest accused of having a sexual relationship with an underage girl made his first appearance Tuesday in Yolo Superior Court.

With assistance from a Spanish interpreter, Hector Coria confirmed his name — listed in the criminal complaint as Hector Coria Gonzalez — to Commissioner Janene Beronio but did not enter a plea to three felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and a misdemeanor charge of oral copulation with a person under age 18.

Authorities say the alleged conduct occurred between April 2013 and May of this year in locations including a house, a vehicle and the church rectory.

Coria’s attorney, Jessica Graves, requested a follow-up court date of June 24 for a plea entry and pre-hearing conference, followed by a July 8 preliminary hearing, where a judge will determine whether there is sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial. The matter was assigned to Judge Paul Richardson’s courtroom.

Beronio also issued a protective order instructing Coria, 45, to keep away from a person she identified only as “an individual,” assumed to be the 17-year-old alleged victim in the case.

The case’s prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Diane Ortiz, said in court she intends to file a motion to conduct a conditional examination of the teenage girl at a future court hearing, which Graves said she would oppose.

“We’re looking forward to the case going through the court process, and we are confident that justice will be served once all the facts are known on Mr. Coria’s behalf,” Graves told reporters as she and Coria, who is free on bail, left the court building.

Coria, who has been placed on administrative leave from St. James by the Sacramento Diocese of the Catholic Church, did not comment.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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