California authorities Monday charged a former Tulia priest with sexually assaulting minors.
John Anthony Salazar-Jimenez, formerly a priest at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Tulia, was charged with molesting a student at St. Bernard High School and an altar boy at St. Teresita Church in the early 1980s, Los Angeles authorities said.
He is believed to be living somewhere in Canada.
Salazar-Jimenez, 47, was charged in 1986 with eight counts of sexual abuse involving four boys in Los Angeles. After pleading guilty to two felony counts for molesting two teen-age altar boys in his living quarters at St. Lucy’s Catholic Church, he was sentenced to six years in prison.
Salazar-Jimenez served nearly three years in jail, and then, while on parole in New Mexico, later joined the Amarillo diocese. He worked in the Amarillo diocese for 11 years until he resigned from the priesthood in May.
The Los Angeles archdiocese learned in 1995 that Salazar-Jimenez, who was hired directly from a New Mexico treatment program for sexual abusers, had become a priest in Texas, said Michael Hennigan, attorney for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. At that point, Cardinal Roger Mahony wrote to the local bishop and “informed him of the problems,” Hennigan said.
Former Amarillo Diocesan Bishop Leroy T. Matthiesen has said previously he thought Salazar-Jimenez would be suitable for ministry after going through the New Mexico treatment program.
Salazar-Jimenez was fourth former Los Angeles priest who has been charged since April with sexual misconduct. The district attorney’s sex crimes unit is looking into several other cases, said spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons.