Ventura County – Considering the recent Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscar Award for Best Picture going to this year’s Spotlight–the tale of an intrepid team of Boston Globe reporters who eventually uncovered the Catholic Church’s organized efforts to hide the behavior of certain members of the clergy identified as sexual predators—recent events at Fillmore’s Saint Francis of Assisi Church may provide material for a motion picture sequel of equal import.
According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Detective Hector Macias, 55-year-old Vidal Morales, a youth coordinator at Saint Francis for more than two full decades, was arrested on February 29th pursuant to a protracted investigation into specific allegations made by an underage female.
In October of 2015, the victim reported that Morales “sexually assaulted” her in the course of his official capacity at the church in 2013.
Those accusations inspired VCSD Major Crimes Bureau and Sexual Assault Unit to initiate their investigation into Morales’ activities at the church.
It was during the course of that investigation that “additional victims” were reported and identified as credible, which led to VCSD Detectives to Saint Francis Church, where Morales was contacted and taken into custody.
He was placed under arrest and transported to Ventura County Main Jail, where he was booked on multiple charges of sexual assault and sexual assault with a minor. His bail was set at $20,000, and “the investigation is still ongoing.”
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