A SOUTHERN California Catholic priest, accused of having sex with a 12-year-old boy,Â has been ordered to stand trial on felony charges by a San Bernardino County judge.
The trial of the Rev Alejandro Jose Castillo was ordered after a preliminary hearing on Tuesday that there was enough evidence to try the priest with seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under age 14 and one count of forcible lewd and lascivious acts with a child under age 14.
Prosecutors say he was pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Ontario when he molested the boy in late 2008. He has since been removed from his post.
Last September, says this report, parishioners and friends of the priest created the Coalition to Exonerate Father Alex Castillo.
The group held prayer vigils every Friday night and twice held marches in his support. One march was in front of the diocese offices in San Bernardino.
Ted Campos, a longtime friend of the priest who has organised the coalition’s efforts, said:
We, the coalition, stand behind father Castillo. We are there to support him in his time of need.
The Coalition has since managed to raise $24,000 to bail Castillo out of jail.