CRIME : Priest Accused of Sexual Assault Faces Arraignment Friday : Associate pastor of Hacienda Heights church admits to incident with 18-year-old man. Archdiocese official says the clergyman is being treated for alcoholism.
A Roman Catholic priest who admitted he sexually assaulted a teen-ager in the church rectory told police he knew his actions were inappropriate but that “I just wanted to hold him and love him,” according to the police report.
Father Terence J. Farrell, 49, an associate pastor at St. John Vianney Church in Hacienda Heights, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Rio Hondo Municipal Courthouse.
If found guilty, Farrell, who was ordained in 1992, faces a maximum six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
The 18-year-old parishioner who filed the complaint told police he wants to see Farrell prosecuted because “I don’t want this to happen to someone younger than me.”
Farrell, who is free on $25,000 bail, could not be reached for comment. The pastor of St. John Vianney declined to comment. Father Gregory Coiro, spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said Farrell was removed from his church duties after his arrest Sept. 9 and is now undergoing treatment for alcoholism at an undisclosed location.
Coiro said the archdiocese is cooperating with the police.
Farrell was formerly associate pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Northridge. He told police he was transferred after one year because he had some problems with the congregation, although he declined to be specific, said sheriff’s detective Art Howell.
The archdiocese spokesman declined to say why Farrell was transferred but said he was not aware of any problems at Our Lady of Lourdes.
According to the police report, the teen-ager said Farrell began showering him with attention after learning the young man lived in a foster home. The priest told the teen-ager he wanted to be his “father” because the young man had no father to take care of him.
The teen-ager’s foster mother told The Times that the priest called the house three or four times a day for the youngster and offered him rides because he had no car.
On Aug. 25, the teen-ager drove Farrell to the rectory because the priest was too drunk to drive home, according to the police report.
Once inside his personal quarters at St. John’s, the young man later said, Farrell asked him to sit on his bed so he could “counsel” him. The priest then ran his hand up the teen-ager’s leg, tried to touch his penis and grabbed his buttocks, the young man said.
When he asked the priest to stop, Farrell responded, “You’re making me look bad and you’re being a bad boy,” according to the police report.
Farrell confirmed the details of the incident.
“He’s not a liar; I did it all,” Farrell told police.