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Valley Priest Accused of Molestation

Times Staff Writer

An Episcopal priest in Tujunga was charged Wednesday with molesting a 13-year-old boy and was permanently removed from the church ministry by the diocese’s bishop.

Jaime Yong Patino, 53, was arrested Tuesday by Los Angeles police detectives as he walked to the Echo Park offices of the bishop of the Los Angeles diocese, where he had been summoned.

Yong Patino was the priest in charge at the Church of the Ascension in Tujunga, a small, mostly Spanish-speaking parish in the foothills.

Authorities said he molested a 13-year-old boy he had met in the MacArthur Park area, where Yong Patino often ministered to the needy.

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The molestation allegedly occurred in June in Yong Patino’s car.

Diocese officials began the process of removing Yong Patino from the church after police notified them of the criminal investigation.

On Tuesday, church officials summoned Yong Patino to the bishop’s office, but Los Angeles Police Department officers arrested him before he had reached the office, diocese spokesman Robert Williams said.

Although the timing of the arrest “circumvented an agreed-upon procedure for dealing with this situation,” the diocese said, it is continuing to fully cooperate with authorities.

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“It is the policy of the Episcopal Church to deal proactively and vigilantly with any and all types of sexual misconduct and to work constantly for its prevention,” said Bishop J. Jon Bruno, a former Burbank police officer, in a statement.

Bruno completed proceedings Wednesday to permanently remove Yong Patino from the ministry, Williams said.

Yong Patino was charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child younger than 14. He appeared in court Wednesday, where his arraignment was postponed until next Thursday.

He is being held in lieu of $200,000 bail.

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Williams said Yong Patino arrived from Mexico three years ago and joined the diocese.

Detectives are asking that anyone with information contacted them at (213) 207-1255.


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