Ex-West Texas priest gets prison in sex abuse case

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Updated: 12/31/2013 5:52 pm

TULIA, Texas (AP) — A former West Texas priest has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting a young male parishioner who attended the Church of the Holy Spirit in Tulia.

The Amarillo Globe-News reports 58-year-old John Salazar pleaded guilty Monday to a second-degree felony charge of indecency with a child — sexual contact.

The Amarillo Diocese hired Salazar in 1991 directly from a New Mexico treatment program for pedophile priests, assigning him to the Tulia church. In 1987, Salazar pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to molesting two altar boys.

Former Amarillo Bishop Leroy Matthiesen, who died in 2010, defended hiring priests from the treatment program, saying they'd repented and were rehabilitated.

The Amarillo Diocese has since said "a serious mistake" was made when Salazar was hired.

©2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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