Priest in Oakland Diocese arrested on suspicion of child abuse

Hector David Mendoza-Vela, a priest at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Fremont, was being held on $900,000 bond.

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By Alex Johnson

A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Oakland, California, was being held Sunday on charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a child, according to court records.

David Mendoza-Vela, a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Oakland, California, is accused of 30 counts of suspected child sexual physical abuse, authorities say.Alameda County, California, Sheriff's Office

Hector David Mendoza-Vela, 42, the parish administrator at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Fremont, was being detained in an Alameda County jail on $900,000 bond pending an arraignment on Tuesday.

Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly said Sunday that Mendoza-Vela was booked Friday on 30 counts of suspicion of abuse of a single child over an 18-month period beginning in 2016, when Mendoza-Vela was working at St. John's Catholic Church in San Lorenzo. Kelly said investigators knew of no other cases in San Lorenzo involving Mendoza-Vela and of no cases in Fremont.

Diocesan records show that Mendoza-Vela emigrated to the United States from El Salvador in 2008 and studied at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California.

Michael C. Barber, the bishop of Oakland, said in a letter to parishioners that Mendoza-Vela was immediately suspended pending the investigation.

"While we do not have all the details, the alleged behavior is in clear violation of the Diocese's code of conduct and the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," Barber said. He said that under diocesan policy, he would have no further comment.