CNA Staff, Nov 5, 2020 / 18:00 pm
The Catholic Diocese of Fresno has taken out a restraining order against a priest and launched an investigation of him after he was accused of drug use, physical abuse, threatening behavior and gang links.
Bishop Joseph Brennan of Fresno said Mass last Sunday at St. Joseph’s Church in Selma, Calif. and announced that Father Guadalupe Rios, the parish administrator, has been put on administrative leave while the diocese conducts an investigation.
Cheryl Sarkisian, the diocese's chancellor, confirmed that the priest has been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is pending.
“This is a matter of an internal investigation and the confidentiality and privacy of all concerned parties will be respected and upheld,” Sarkisian told The Fresno Bee Nov. 3.
The restraining order, approved by a Fresno County Superior Court judge Oct. 30, specifically protects the church building, the diocese offices, the church secretary, her daughters, the church bookkeeper, a supervisor of the priest, and Bishop Brennan, Action News of ABC 30 Fresno reports.
Under the order, the priest may not come within 100 yards of the church or any of the people or properties named. The diocese served the order to Rios at its offices.
Several parishioners told Action News the priest was either in a gang or affiliated with one. Alleged gang links are mentioned in the diocese’s application for a restraining order.
“The Diocese of Fresno feels this matter is a difficult one for all concerned parties, but one that had to be addressed in a timely and forthright manner due to the issues that were brought to the attention of the Diocese of Fresno,” the diocese told Action News, according to its Nov. 2 report.