Category Archives: Rev. Julio Cesar Guarin-Sosa

$75,000 bail set for accused Colombian priest in Sutter County

$75,000 bail set for accused Colombian priest in Sutter County
By Rob Parsons/A-D Reporter March 15, 2013 11:32:00 PM

From the link:

The attorney for a Catholic priest accused of kissing a 16-year-old Yuba City  girl called the incident a “witch hunt” on Friday, while prosecutors said the  clergyman knows he violated the law.

The Rev. Julio Cesar Guarin-Sosa, 43, of Colombia is charged with a felony  count of false imprisonment and misdemeanor counts of annoying or molesting a  minor and sexual battery in connection with a March 8 incident in Yuba City.

Sutter County Judge Susan E. Green entered not-guilty pleas on Guarin-Sosa’s  behalf on Friday.

“This case is a witch hunt, your honor,” defense attorney Markus Dombois  said. “The conduct may be inappropriate in this country, but it may be an  everyday occurrence in his country.”

Jacquelyn Stenson, deputy Sutter County district attorney, countered, saying  Guarin-Sosa apologized to the girl during a subsequent telephone conversation  and asked her not to say anything because “it would ruin his life.”

“He knew something he’d done was wrong,” Stenson said.

She declined to say who initiated the phone call or whether the conversation  was recorded.

Guarin-Sosa was held at the Sutter County Jail without bail on an Immigration  and Customs Enforcement hold for illegal entry, a charge his attorney said was  baseless. He surrendered his passport and travel visa, which showed he entered  the United States as a legal visitor on Dec. 27. The visa expires June 26,  Dombois said.

The teenager’s family invited Guarin-Sosa to their Yuba City home to  celebrate Mass. During the visit, the priest was asked to console the teenager,  whom Dombois said was distraught. The priest and teenager were alone in a room  when the alleged abuse occurred, authorities said.

Police investigators initially sought a felony count of sexual battery, and  Guarin-Sosa’s bail was set at $250,000 based on that allegation. Prosecutors,  however, filed the sex charges as misdemeanors and added a felony count of false  imprisonment, warranting a lower bail.

Green set bail at $75,000, saying she wanted to ensure the priest, who has no  ties to Sutter County, would not flee during criminal proceedings.

A Sutter County bail report describes Guarin-Sosa as “very evasive” under  questioning. The report says the girl’s mother wants the priest to remain behind  bars.

She said “her daughter has been severely impacted by this incident and is  afraid of the defendant. (The mother) advised her daughter is struggling as a  result of the defendant’s alleged actions,” the report says.

The report also calls Guarin-Sosa a flight risk.

As part of his bail-reduction argument, Dombois submitted nearly 200 letters  of support he said spoke to the priest’s character. Stenson noted most of the  letters were written by people who had known Guarin-Sosa less than a month.

Guarin-Sosa’s only prior contact with California law enforcement came March  12, 2005, when he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, but the case was  dismissed for insufficient evidence, the report says.

Arguments over bail were made in case the immigration charge is revoked by  police or jail officials before the judge can rule on the issue herself on  Wednesday, which the judge said was “very much a possibility.” A preliminary  hearing is scheduled Friday.