Manhunt continues for former Plainfield priest indicted on sexual assault charges involving teen

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Manuel Gallo Espinoza, 52, has been indicted on charges in the alleged sexual assault of a teen 13 years ago. (Google Maps)

Manuel Gallo Espinoza, 52, has been indicted on charges in the alleged sexual assault of a teen 13 years ago. (Google Maps)

PLAINFIELD, N.J. — The manhunt continues for a former Catholic priest affiliated with a church in Plainfield, N.J. who was just indicted on multiple sexual assault charges stemming from an incident 13 years ago.

According to Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park, 52-year-old Manuel Gallo Espinoza has been charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault and two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.

Espinoza’s whereabouts are currently unknown, although he is believed to be living in Ecuador.

The grand jury determined that Espinoza sexually assaulted the then 16-year-old victim in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church on West Sixth Street in Plainfield at least once in early 2003.

Anyone with information about this matter or Espinoza’s whereabouts is being urged to contact Sgt. Patricia Gusmano with the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit at 908-965-3890.

The Union County Crime Stoppers also are offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case; tips can be given anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477), via text message by texting “UCTIP” plus a message to 274637 (CRIMES), or online at http://www.uctip.org.