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Hector Coria Gonzales

Davis priest faces three felony charges of unlawful sex

Published: Friday, Jun. 6, 2014 - 10:51 pm

The Davis priest arrested in May on suspicion of having sex with a 17-year-old girl faces three felony charges tied to the allegations.

In a complaint released Friday, Yolo County prosecutors filed three felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and a misdemeanor charge of oral copulation with a person younger than 18 years old against Hector Coria Gonzales.

A priest at St. James’ Parish since July 2012, Gonzales is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Yolo Superior Court in Woodland.

Prosecutors in the complaint say Gonzales, 46, engaged in sexual relations with the teenager over an eight-month span starting in September 2013, including intercourse at a home, in a vehicle and at the church’s rectory, located on the Davis parish campus.

Davis police investigators said Gonzalez befriended the teen while he was a priest at St. James, then began engaging in sexual relations with her.

Gonzales, previously identified by law enforcement and prosecutors as Hector Coria, was arrested by Davis police May 9 on the statutory rape allegations but has been free since posting $50,000 bail May 10.

If convicted on the three felony counts, Gonzales could face punishment ranging from probation with jail time to as many as four years and four months in custody, said Yolo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven.

Parishioners, church and parish school officials in May reacted with shock at the news of the popular priest’s arrest, while Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento officials worked to reassure parishioners.

The same day Gonzales posted bail, Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento officials ordered the priest to move out of the rectory, placed him on paid administrative leave and stripped him of his duties until legal proceedings concluded.

Call The Bee’s Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.

Read more articles by Darrell Smith

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