PASSAIC, New Jersey (PIX11) – A Passaic County priest is under arrest Thursday after he allegedly molested a 14-year-old parishioner, according to officials.
Father Jose Lopez, of St. Mary’s Assumption Church in Passaic, NJ, faces charges of luring a child, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal sexual contact after he allegedly brought a young girl to his private quarters for ‘counseling’ in January.
Lopez told the girl to sit on a couch so he could advise her on some personal problems, and while talking to her, had her sit on his lap, according to a prosecutor’s office news release.
He then allegedly began kissing her and “began to engage in sexual contact with her”, pulling her back each time she tried to get off the couch. She finally managed to escape after Father Lopez apparently fell off the couch and onto the floor.
Lopez, who is a Colombian native in the U.S. on a religious worker’s visa, faces a maximum sentence of 16-and-a-half years in prison. He is now being held on $50,000 bail.