Catholic Priest Sentenced to Six Months for Sexually Assaulting Model During Flight

Plane wingA 46-year-old Diocese of San Bernardino Catholic priest has been sentenced to six months in prison for sexually groping a woman during an overnight flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles last August.

The woman, who is employed as a model, woke up and found Marcelo de Jesumaria touching her breasts and buttocks. She immediately asked to change seats and reported the assault to FBI agents. Jesumaria told the FBI that he enjoys “cozy flights” with women and intentionally changed his seat to be next to his victim. Prosecutors say he was able to get his seat switched by lying to a flight attendant that she was his wife.

Prosecutors say Jesumaria initially denied touching the woman. Now, as part of his defense, Jesumaria blamed the female victim and told the court that he interpreted her silence (she was sleeping) as consent.

The Diocese of San Bernardino removed Jesumaria from active ministry in November 2014 after it learned of the incident. It seems incredible that it took the Diocese three months to learn of the priest’s arrest, and ridiculous that it would take another three months to remove him from active ministry.

Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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