PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — A former priest from Saint Anne’s Catholic Church and Shrine was charged Monday with sexual battery and providing alcohol to a minor, Santa Monica Police Sgt. Richard Lewis said.

With his attorney, Rafael Venegas turned himself in Monday and posted bail at $20,000. He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

Venegas’ attorney could not be reached for comment.

The priest was originally put on leave from Saint Anne’s when a woman came forward on July 1, alleging that Venegas had committed an act of sexual battery against her in September 2011 on church property.

The woman involved was not a parishioner at the church, and is under the age of 21.

As defined by the California Penal Code, sexual battery involves touching an “intimate” part of another person for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification or abuse while the victim is restrained.

In a statement read during mass on July 21 and 22, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said it considered the allegations to be “credible.”

Prior to his leave, Venegas had been in ministry in the Archdiocese since his ordination in 2007.

news@www.smdp.com

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.