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Yuma Priest Faces Sexual Abuse Charges

Aug 27, 2002 | UPI

A priest in southern Arizona Tuesday faced several counts of sexual conduct with a minor and child molestation after a third alleged victim came forward, accusing the Rev. Juan Guillen of molestation.

At an arraignment, Guillen, 58, was charged with 11 counts of sexual conduct with a minor and chilled molestation. Yuma County Justice Court Judge Richard W. Donato raised Guillen's bail from $72,000 to $108,023 and scheduled a preliminary hearing for next week.

The Diocese of Tucson, which oversees Catholic churches in Yuma as well as Tucson, Ariz., has said it will not post Guillen's bail or pay his attorney's fees.

Diocese spokesman Fred Allison told the Tucson Citizen that a new policy governing allegations of sexual abuse does not allow the church to financially assist priests under criminal investigation.

Guillen, who served as associate pastor at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma since 1986, was arrested Friday after the Diocese of Tucson told police of the allegations.

He is accused of molesting one of his alleged victims for nearly a decade, starting with a 1988 incident, court records said.

Yuma police reported that the victim recorded a telephone conversation allegedly capturing Guillen admitting to molesting a second victim, the Citizen said.

According to police, the alleged molestation of the second victim reportedly began in 1994 and continued three to five times a week for the next year and a half.

The third victim came forward after seeing news reports of Guillen's arrest last week.

Guillen, a native of Periban de Ramos in Michoacan, Mexico, was ordained a minister in 1974 and applied for a position in the Tucson diocese in 1982. He has served in Yuma, Somerton and San Luis.

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