Friday, July 25, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Davis priest arrested for sexual abuse

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From page A1 | May 11, 2014 |

coria hectorW

The Rev. Hector Coria. Courtesy photo

A St. James Catholic Church priest was arrested Friday by Davis police on suspicion of statutory rape and oral copulation with a minor.

Police began investigating the sexual abuse charges against the Rev. Hector Coria, 45, earlier this month, a department spokesman said. Coria allegedly befriended the 17-year-old female victim in late 2013, police said.

“In late 2013, Father Coria began a sexual relationship with the minor and engaged in that sexual relationship on multiple occasions since 2013,” a department news release said.

On Friday, Davis police served search warrants at multiple locations and subsequently arrested Coria. He was booked into the Yolo County Jail on Friday but was no longer in custody as of Saturday night, a jail spokeswoman said. He is expected to be arraigned next month in Yolo Superior Court.

The church celebrated Mass on Saturday evening as usual. The Rev. Peter Bosque announced Coria’s arrest at the end of the service, just after a poignant recognition of attending mothers for Mother’s Day. Low murmurs among the parishioners quieted down quickly, and Bosque asked anyone who may have information or know of other victims to contact the Davis Police Department.

In an interview after Mass, Bosque said he would do his best to help his church heal, and keep anyone who had been harmed in his prayers. Coria would not return to the parish, even if cleared of all charges, Bosque said. A new priest likely will be appointed within the month.

The Sacramento Diocese of the Catholic Church announced that Coria has been placed on administrative leave, in keeping with diocesan policy.

Coria joined St. James in 2012 after serving at the Our Lady of Assumption Parish in Carmichael.

His arrest comes less than a year after a former Yolo County Catholic priest, the Rev. Uriel Ojeda, was sentenced to eight years in prison for molesting a 13-year-old girl in her family’s Sacramento County home sometime between June 2007 and June 2009.

Prosecutors said Ojeda, who was serving as a priest at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Woodland at the time of the offense, entered the girl’s home in the middle of the night and touched her inappropriately. He had moved on to a Redding church by the time he was arrested in 2011.
Ojeda, now 34, is serving his sentence at the state prison in Avenal, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s online records.
— Enterprise staff writer Lauren Keene contributed to this report. Reach Elizabeth Case at ecase@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8052.

Elizabeth Case

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Discussion | 29 comments

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  • May 10, 2014 - 8:08 pm

    I am a Davis resident and have always thought that Davis was a less scandalous town compared to Sacramento or Stockton. Well, no more! Bad things can happen here too. We're not immune. Recently, I attended mass at St. James given by the priest in question, Briefly, I thought -- what if this priest is a pedophile like others who have been in the news? Nonsense, I said to myself.

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  • May 10, 2014 - 9:09 pm

    Father Hector is a wonderful person who will ultimately be shown to be a victim in this case as well as the stated minor. Please don't judge until you have all the facts (which no one does right now). Well, how about don't judge period. Father Hector is most definitely not a pedophile or an anything-else-phile. He's a kind, gentle man.

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  • May 11, 2014 - 8:18 am

    How do you know the girl didn't seduce him? He shouldn't have to go down for this if it was consensual.

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  • May 11, 2014 - 9:34 am

    A girl that age cannot give consent. It is called statutory rape. And a priest should know better.

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  • MronepercentMay 11, 2014 - 9:02 pm

    He did go down for this

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  • DevonMay 11, 2014 - 10:12 am

    Perhaps you don't understand the law, but if she is 17 she is incapable of consenting, or "seducing" anyone. I'm sure the police have plenty of evidence, or he would not have been arrested or charged.

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  • May 11, 2014 - 10:15 am

    You don't know the facts. And there always reasons that need to be considered in these cases. The alleged "victim" deserves to have her story heard.

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  • May 11, 2014 - 8:23 am

    I would just like to say, when the time comes, his side of story will come out, and people will know that he didn't abuse this girl. When the time comes, the minor is going to make a statement in regards to this and it will show the truth in what happened, not just the one sided story police and the church are giving.

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  • May 11, 2014 - 6:31 pm

    the victim isn't a victim, she has been victimized by the police, the church, the third party who brought this to the police, but not him. You should hear what she has to say before you condemn this man.

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  • ObserverMay 11, 2014 - 11:24 pm

    I know some St. James parishners that dig holes in the ground and wait for the bad things to just go away. Bet the number of holes over there are now going to be a pedestrian hazard or burrowing owl high density living community.

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  • May 11, 2014 - 1:19 am

    You all have no right to judge him. You don't know this man. In the United States there's a concept called "innocent until proven guilty". This is a witch hunt and he is the scapegoat. Nobody knows all the details so don't be so quick to judge and condemn him. He has an amazing heart and the way this is being handled is disgusting.

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  • May 11, 2014 - 7:04 am

    Guilty until proven innocent only applies to the government in terms of prosecution. How do you all know whether he is actually guilty or not? You are, ironically enough, judging the case without having any facts.

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  • May 11, 2014 - 8:14 am

    I know him and the facts very well.

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  • May 11, 2014 - 1:41 pm

    So you were there when the alleged crime was committed?

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  • May 11, 2014 - 9:33 am

    There is no such thing as "consensual sex" with a minor.

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  • May 11, 2014 - 9:51 am

    That doesn't mean he should go to jail, he's not a sexual abuser.

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  • DevonMay 11, 2014 - 10:14 am

    Pardon me for saying so, BUT YOU ARE DUMB. Sex with a minor is rape, by law. It is, as a matter of law, abuse. So is oral copulation with a minor. Educate yourself before making these inane comments.

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  • stephen verdyMay 11, 2014 - 12:30 pm

    He is A Anti-Christ

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  • May 11, 2014 - 2:52 pm

    How do you know?

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  • May 11, 2014 - 5:08 pm

    Yes, it does mean he should go to jail, if convicted. If it's proven that a 45 year old man had sex with a 17-year-old girl, he committed an illegal act.

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  • Clyde T.May 12, 2014 - 3:19 pm

    You parishioners are so warped! What a bunch of apologists for the Catholic Church. No wonder sexual abuse has been going on for centuries in the church with ostrich thinking like this.

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  • May 12, 2014 - 8:01 pm

    Let's see can resolve their issues better, the St. James congregation or Donald Sterling. I know someone (who goes to SJ) who really needs help and they know it too. Will the Catholics rise together, show combined strength and help their wounded lambs. Or will Donald Sterling prevail through apologies and good deeds and keep his team. That will be an excellent test between Davisites and a racist...

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  • May 11, 2014 - 5:07 pm

    If she is 17 and he is 43 or 45, she cannot "consent", hence the statutory rape laws. For years we stopped enforcing these laws, and then when we finally realized the 16- and 17-year-old girls who were being taken advantage of by much older men which some came to calling "predatory" relationships. The courts and authorities will often give leeway to a young couple when one is 19 and the other 17, but 43 and 17? No. Let all the facts come out.

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  • May 11, 2014 - 5:59 pm

    They should check his previous parish assignments for potential past problems.

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  • RamonaMay 12, 2014 - 7:20 pm

    Why is it ALWAYS ok to Catholic bash. No one has their head buried in the sand, the diocese is cooperating fully with law enforcement and Father Hector is relieved of his duties. What else do you want the church to do, behead him? What he did is terrible in so many ways and he should and will pay the price for his actions. There are bad apples in every walk of life, please don't blame all for the few. Do we blame all Muslims for the group who kidnapped those christian school girls in Nigeria to sell them into slavery for Allah?

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  • MronepercentMay 12, 2014 - 7:23 pm

    Yes

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  • RamonaMay 13, 2014 - 9:14 am

    Ha! Thank you

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  • May 12, 2014 - 8:54 pm

    Everybody is talking about how horrible this man is and have already destroyed his life, but has anybody thought about the girl's life? The way the church, police, and media are handling this is not with her interests in mind. They just want a witch hunt and aren't looking for the truth. Let the woman speak and listen, without judging her or him. I beg you people, find compassion in your hearts and don't judge this man until all the facts are heard.

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  • MMay 25, 2014 - 12:52 am

    I'm not a victim of Hector Coria, I am a victim of the catholic church, the davis police department, and the media. You haven't heard my story. Stop spreading lies and try and get the facts. You've destroyed this man's life. You don't know him, and if you did you would know that none of this is true. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? And what happened to caring about what I have to say. You people make me sick.

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