Ex-priest accused of child abuse in Texas gets trial delayed
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — The trial of a former Texas priest accused of sexually abusing an alter server for years has been postponed after Catholic leaders revealed the names of hundreds of priests with links to the state who are credibly accused of child abuse.
Miguel Luna, one of the clergymen identified by the Catholic Diocese of El Paso last week, had his trial delayed on Wednesday, the El Paso Times reported. Luna is charged with molesting and raping a child at an El Paso Catholic church.
Luna’s lawyer, Francisco Macias, said the delay will allow media coverage of the list to calm down and hopefully give Luna a chance at a fair trial. His new trial date is set for April 5, according to court records.
Fourteen dioceses in Texas last week released the names of 286 priests and others accused of child abuse, marking one of the largest accounts of clergy abuse since a shocking grand jury report in Pennsylvania last year. It’s unclear whether the lists will lead to local prosecutors bringing criminal charges.
Luna is among 30 priests listed by the Catholic Diocese of El Paso as being credibly accused.
He was arrested in June following allegations that he sexually abused an alter server from 1991 to 1998, according to court documents. The victim, who is now in her 30s, reported the accusations against Luna to El Paso police in 2016, claiming that the sexual assault began when she was 8 years old.
Luna had a close relationship with the victim’s family and would pick her up from home and school during the period of the alleged abuse, according to the complaint.
Diocese officials said Luna was ordained in 1982 and removed from the ministry in 2013. His current status is listed as inactive.
Information from: El Paso Times, http://www.elpasotimes.com