ONTARIO, Calif., Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A priest in Southern California has been charged with sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy while he was the pastor of a Los Angeles-area church.
The Rev. Alejandro Jose Castillo, 57, of Ontario, was arrested Monday and arraigned Tuesday, The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported. The bishop of San Bernardino suspended Castillo as pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Ontario in June, when the parents of his alleged victim told church officials about the abuse, and made the allegations public after determining they were "credible," John Andrews, a diocesan spokesman, said.
"It's a sad day for the diocese," Andrews said Tuesday after Castillo entered a not guilty plea. "It's an especially sad day for the good people at Our Lady of Guadalupe."
The Coalition to Exonerate Father Alex, a parish group, has accused the church of being too quick to condemn him. Members of the group have picketed at diocesan headquarters and held vigils at their church.
Ontario police say they believe Castillo has a pattern of sexual misconduct going back at least a decade. Most of the cases cannot be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired.