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News, Santa Monica, Courts, Police Department

Santa Monica St. Anne's Church Priest Pleads To Battery Charge

Rafael Venegas, former priest at St. Anne's Church in Santa Monica, pleaded to two misdemeanor charges on Nov. 9 in relation to a sexual assault that occurred in September 2011.
Rafael Venegas, former priest at St. Anne's Church in Santa Monica, pleaded to two misdemeanor charges on Nov. 9 in relation to a sexual assault that occurred in September 2011.

Posted Nov. 15, 2012, 8:56 am

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

Former Santa Monica St. Anne's Church priest Rafael Venegas pleaded to one count of misdemeanor battery and one count of furnishing alcohol to a minor last Friday, Nov. 9.

Venegas was sentenced to one day in jail, 364 days of probation, 160 hours of community service, and counseling through the archdiocese, which must contain a segment dealing with sexual compulsion.

The sentencing stems from a Santa Monica Police Department investigation that began on July 1, 2012.

A 20-year-old woman, who was not a parishioner of St. Anne's, reported that a sexual assault involving Venegas occurred on the property of St. Anne's Parish at 2017 Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica in September 2011.

The Santa Monica City Attorney's Office charged Venegas on July 26.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Detective DeRyck at 310.458.8944, Sergeant Jacob at 310.458.8460 or the Santa Monica Police Department (24 hours) at 310.458.8495.

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Nov. 16, 2012, 12:05:23 am

Rosalie Juarez Bravo said...

We need to start checking and interviewing each and everyone who is going to serve our PARRISH!!! Their BACKGROUND STATUS!!! I for one didn't get a good feeling about this man/priest when i first saw him! Honestly he disgrased our church, especially our patriot ST. ANNE'S!!!

Nov. 16, 2012, 7:41:20 am

Melanie Jula Sakoda said...

This brave young woman is to be commended for coming forward. We applaud her strength and bravery! We also hope the archdiocese will act swiftly to ensure that Rafael Venegas is never given another position of authority in the Catholic church. If you are the victim of a sexual assault, report your abuse to the authorities and learn your legal rights. Don’t suffer alone and in silence! There are people who will believe you and support you. Melanie Jula Sakoda Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) SNAP East Bay Director Toll Free Phone: 1-877-SNAPHEALS (1-877-762-7432) 925-708-6175

Nov. 16, 2012, 9:10:55 am

Kay Goodnow said...

ONE day in jail? ONE YEAR of probation? Ridiculous! Venegas will walk away and never be seen again, but he will continue to abuse! Please, if there are any other survivors of abuse at this "priest's" hands, contact the numbers listed in the article abose.

Nov. 16, 2012, 9:26:39 pm

mangeleno said...

Sure, let's turn his rehabilitation over to the same organization that posted Michael Baker, a confessed molester, to St Monica's. And then our DA wonder's why there is so much recidivism?

Dec. 25, 2012, 2:30:33 am

John Zachariah said...

It is very sad that the this was a "he said" and "she said" case. No witnesses at all. But the haters of the Catholic Church want us to taking the side of the "brave woman". Who really believes that the Priest grabbed her and made her drink alcohol? IF she had reported immediately should we have be proven a liar but she waited almost a year. A brave women or a strange,scheming woman? I know that God will be waiting for us on judgement day and then we will see what happens to lying haters.

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