The New Civil Rights Movement reports that a Catholic priest has admitted to having sex with a 15-year-old boy before fleeing the country. Now, his victim is suing the church.
According to Raw Story, the 15-year-old boy visited a confession booth at his Catholic church and told the priest that he was confused about his sexuality.
Weeks later, the victim claims Rev. Manuel Gallo Espnoza raped him in a rectory bedroom at St. Mary’s Church in Plainfield, New Jersey, as NJ.com detailed in their exclusive report.
The victim told NJ.com, “I saw him as a priest, and that’s it. I didn’t even know who was in the confessional when I went in there.”
He claims the priest told him, “Don’t worry. This is what God wants.”
The victim says that he asked Espinoza to drive him home, but the priest insisted he stay in one of the church’s bedrooms.
“I just felt something very heavy on top of me,” he said. “It hurt. I was in pain. My eyes popped open, and he had his whole body on top of me. He started touching me and kissing me. I was shaking. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t talk.”
Rev. Espinoza says he quit the priesthood — but he was in fact suspended. He also “deflected blame for the incident by saying the teen ‘wanted’ it and had ‘evil in his mind,'” according to NJ.com.
Espinoza admits his actions were a “mistake,” and said he fled to Ecuador shortly after the rape was reported to a nun: