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News Release

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Media Relations

Los Angeles Archdiocese Priest Arrested on Molestation Charges

"Los Angeles Archdiocese Priest Arrested on Molestation Charges"


Los Angeles: On September 28, 2004, at about 9:00 a.m., detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Sexually Exploited Child Unit, Juvenile Division, arrested 40 year-old Fernando Lopez, a Catholic priest. The arrest took place without incident at Father Lopez’ residence in the 3300 block of Waverly Drive in Los Angeles. Father Lopez was arrested for molesting multiple victims while he was a priest at the St. Thomas the Apostle parish in Los Angeles.

Father Lopez is a Columbian citizen who came to the United States in 2001 from Rome, Italy. He was assigned to the St. Thomas parish until the current allegations surfaced.

The investigation into Father Lopez began in July 2004, when the Archdiocese of Los Angeles advised the Sexually Exploited Child Unit that a victim had come forward with an allegation against Father Lopez. The Los Angeles Police Department and the Archdiocese then initiated a collaborative investigation into Father Lopez that resulted in additional victims coming forward with similar allegations.

Father Lopez remains in custody pending the filing of charges by the District Attorney’s Office. His bail was set at $300,000.

Because of Father Lopez’ contact with youth at the St. Thomas parish, detectives believe there may be other victims.

Anyone having any information regarding Father Fernando Lopez is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles Police Department’s Sexually Exploited Child Unit, at 213-485-2883. On weekends and during off-hours, please call the 24-hour toll free number at the Detective Information Desk, at 1-877-LAWFULL (1-877-529-3855).

This news release was prepared by Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations section, at 213-485-3586.