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WESTLAKE, Ohio (WJW) — A man accused of molestation while “blessing” a 15-year-old girl suffering from cancer was issued $250,000 bond in court Monday.
Luis Jesus Barajas, 76, a Columbian national, faces a charge of gross sexual imposition. He was declared indigent and ordered to have no contact with the victim. His case will be presented directly to a grand jury.
A local priest made authorities aware of the incident on Oct. 20. Barajas has been staying with local families in Lorain County for months, “performing spiritual ceremonies to the nearby Spanish-speaking population,” according to a press release.
On Oct. 20, he was driven to pray with the 15-year-old girl, who was diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. Witnesses say he touched her inappropriately during the blessing, using blankets and clothing to hide his actions, according to the release.
He was arrested Oct. 23.
Investigators believe Barajas was ordained in 1982, and that he was accused of sexual misconduct against juveniles in the Catholic diocese in Harrisburg, Pa., in 1989. He was then sent back to Colombia, according to investigators. It’s not clear when he was removed from the priesthood.
Barajas was previously arrested in 2019 in Virginia on a felony count of misconduct with a minor, according to the release. Authorities declined to prosecute.