Report: Former LA priest investigated

Feb. 6, 2013 at 1:49 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Police are investigating a former priest and Los Angeles school system worker who had a sexual relationship with a teenage girl, the Los Angeles Times said.

Citing sources, the newspaper reported Wednesday Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives began investigating the relationship between Joseph Pina, 66, and a girl with whom he has admitted having a sexual relationship beginning in the late 1980s, when she was 16.

The investigation may be the first to arise from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles' recent court-ordered publication of documents on its handling of sexual abuse allegations against clergy, the Times said.

Though Pina did not come into contact with students during the course of his job with the Los Angeles Unified School District, Superintendent John Deasy said he found it "troubling" such a person was hired in the first place.

Pina said he "fell in love" with a girl whom he first saw as an eighth-grader in a Snow White costume, a psychological report on Pina indicated.

"I felt like I fell in love with her," he told a psychologist. "I got sexually involved with her, but never intercourse. She was about 17 when we got involved sexually, and it continued until she was about 19."

The Times said Monday Pina's LAUSD job, which has since been eliminated, required him to act as a community outreach agent, speaking to residents and business owners in neighborhoods affected by the capital project, gaining public input about where to build new schools.

Pina does not work for the district anymore and there have been no reports of problems involving him, but Deasy said any future plans to hire Pina on a per diem basis have been canceled.

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