After Plea Deal For Statutory Rape, Defrocked Davis Catholic Priest Faces Deportation
Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) agents arrested 46 year old Hector Coria Gonzales at his Davis residence on March 20. I.C.E. officials stated that they are initiating proceedings to deport Gonzales to Mexico because he admitted having unlawful sex with a sixteen year old altar girl. While an immigration court examines Coria’s case he is currently lodged in the Yolo County Jail without bond.
As part of the plea agreement that resolved his case, Coria pleaded guilty to statutory rape in Yolo Superior Court in June, 2014. He admitted being involved sexually with the altar girl at St. James Parish in Davis where he served as priest.
He subsequently had been residing in the United States legally. However, that status changed when the Catholic Church removed him from the ranks of the priesthood after his conviction. Roman Catholic diocese of Sacramento officials asked the Vatican to defrock the former St. James parish priest.
“Father Coria ‘s behavior with the minor was a crime and a sin,” Kevin Eckery, a spokesman for the Sacramento diocese told The Sacramento Bee at the time. “He will now be held to account for his behavior.”
The altar girl is identified only as “M.L.” in court documents had indicated she did not wish to see Coria prosecuted. The criminal complaint related to encounters between Coria and M.L.which took place at a home, in a vehicle and at the church rectory during a period of eight months.
In the immediate aftermath of Gonzales’ guilty plea last year, Yolo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven stated he was pleased with the plea deal. “He took responsibility and [the victim] won’t have to be put through the pain… of having to testify at trial.”
As a result of the plea agreement, Coria, 46, was sentenced to serve 90 days in jail and also was to be placed on formal probation for three years. In addition, Yolo Superior Court Judge Paul Richardson barred him from having contact with the girl until she turns 18.
Authorities did not disclose when the immigration court will conclude its examination of Coria’s case.