A judge in Puerto Rico sentenced a Roman Catholic priest Friday to three years probation for sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy he had counseled for depression.
The judge also ordered the Rev. Anibal Torres Ortiz to undergo counseling for sexual offenders and prohibited him from being in the company of minors without the supervision of another adult. He also must register as a sexual offender in the U.S. island territory.
Torres, who was convicted of exposing himself and sexual abuse, could have received up to 3 1/2 years in prison. Authorities said the incident occurred in 2005, when the priest served in a church in Rio Piedras, a suburb of the capital.
Judge Jesus Pelyera in Bayamon, another San Juan suburb, rejected a prison sentence sought by prosecutors because it was the priest's first criminal offense.
Torres, 37, said outside the court that he would appeal. "The sentence is wrong. I am innocent and the judge is wrong," he said. "I did not commit these crimes."
Torres is still a priest, but has been relieved of his position and no longer directs a parish, said the Rev. Alfonso Guzman, a spokesman for the archbishop of San Juan.