Sunday, January 25, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Davis priest pleads guilty to unlawful sex with minor

By
From page A1 | June 29, 2014 |

WOODLAND — Speaking publicly for the first time, a Davis teen who engaged in a sexual relationship with a St. James Catholic Church priest said Friday she never wanted to see the case end up in a courtroom.

“I would like the court to know that all conduct was consensual and there was no abuse or manipulation, and I did not want this matter prosecuted,” the girl, identified in court documents as “M.L.,” told Yolo Superior Court judge Paul Richardson, who had just accepted a guilty plea from defendant Hector Coria Gonzalez.

The girl said she had additional comments to make, but she would record them in a letter to be read at Coria’s Aug. 8 sentencing hearing.

In an unexpected plea deal, the 45-year-old Coria admitted to one felony count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Under the agreement, Coria will avoid state prison and registering as a sex offender but must serve three years of probation as well as 90 days in county jail, though he may apply to serve that time through an alternative work program.

He also must attend counseling and stay away from the alleged victim until she turns 18 in November.

In exchange for his guilty plea, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss three additional charges in the case — two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, also felonies, and one misdemeanor count of oral copulation with a minor.

Speaking through a Spanish interpreter, Coria, who has been free on bail since shortly after his arrest, told Richardson he understood his legal rights, waived his right to a jury trial and indicated he understood the consequences of entering a guilty plea.

Prosecuting attorney Diane Ortiz said in court that the relationship lasted about eight months, starting in September 2013 when the girl was 16, but the girl clarified in an email to The Enterprise that it began after she turned 17.

A criminal complaint filed against Coria earlier this month alleged that the conduct occurred in a home, a car and in the rectory of the 1275 B St. church.

Davis police launched an investigation in early May, arresting Coria on May 9 after serving search warrants at several undisclosed locations. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento then placed Coria on leave from St. James, where he had served since 2012.

The plea agreement was announced in court shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, about an hour and a half after the scheduled start of a hearing in which the alleged victim — who is soon leaving the state to attend college — was slated to have her testimony video recorded for future use in the case.

Coria’s defense attorney, Linda Parisi, called the agreement the “best compromise resolution” given the circumstances of the case.

“This was a very private matter between two people that for other reasons was made public — certainly not by either of these two participants — and (the girl) did not want the matter prosecuted,” Parisi said.

Ortiz, the prosecuting attorney, said while that may be the case, the fact remains that the girl’s young age made the relationship an illegal one.

“In this case it makes it more egregious because the age difference is so significant, plus he abused a position of trust by being a priest in her parish,” Ortiz said. “We’re pleased that it resolved so that we can further protect the victim from any scrutiny and publicity.”

— Reach Lauren Keene at lkeene@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Bridges of Yolo County: Wear, tear … repair?

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Four days of unusual, adventuresome music

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Spanish police arrest 4 suspected members of a jihadi cell

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Abortion opponents express renewed hope at California rally

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Share your love (story) with us

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Fake schools draw federal scrutiny

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Winter produce available at Sutter market

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Donations to be distributed during homeless count

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    Speaker will share computer security tips

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Logos Books celebrates 5 years, offers language groups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Australian olive oil company opens U.S. headquarters in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Explore at the YOLO Outdoor Expo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Yolo animal shelter seeking rawhide donations

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

    Woodland Healthcare employees take Great Kindness Challenge

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    At the Pond: Nest boxes give birds new homes

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    California ranks worst in nation for guidance counselors

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Davis, Woodland are saving water

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A12

    Words and Music Festival events

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Forum

    Family isn’t keen on relationship

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

     
     
    Caring for the aging mouth

    By Samer Alassaad | From Page: A8

    Big utilities’ nightmare begins to play out

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

     
    Mayor’s Corner: Let’s renew Davis together

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: A10

    We have the right to choose

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    We don’t have to suffer

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    City helped immensely

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    When measles spreads from Disneyland, it’s a small world after all

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

     
    From innovation parks to innovative buildings and planning

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    Wildcats’ inaugural kids development league exceeds expectations

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggies get top 2015 gymnastics score, but fall short

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Loud crowd sees DHS boys win

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lady Devils hold off Pacers, stay perfect in league

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD men take two tennis matches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

     
    Watney in ninth at Humana Challenge

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Davis man focusing on cannabidiol business

    By Will Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    Marrone Bio’s Regalia approved for new uses in Canada

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    UCD grad makes insurance ‘hot 100′ list

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, January 25, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8