Not all Catholic priests who abuse minors escape justice.
A California superior court judge sentenced Father Uriel Ojeda, 33, to eight years in state prison on Friday for molesting a teenage girl multiple times.
“My actions were those of a weak and sinful man,” Ojeda said in court.
Ojeda pleaded no contest to sneaking into the young girl’s bedroom at her parents’ Sacramento home on the night he was ordained and climbing into bed with her as she slept.
“You traumatized me,” the girl told him in a letter that was read in court by Deputy District Attorney Allison Dunham. “And you thought I would never tell anyone, didn’t you? But you thought wrong.”
According to the girl’s parents, Ojeda molested their daughter on 10 occasions, and the crimes took place between June 29, 2007, and June 30, 2009, the Sacramento Bee reported.
“I have committed a crime and a serious sin,” Ojeda told the judge as a group of roughly 30 of the well-liked priest’s supporters watched in stunned silence. “I would like to ask everybody for forgiveness and that they do find mercy for me.”
The Vatican announced that it has begun the process of defrocking Ojeda, who wore an orange prison jumpsuit in court.
“I’d like to, as a final act as priest, to apologize to all priests who serve faithfully before God, for bringing shame to the priesthood,” Ojeda said.