Vandalism Victim: 'Priest wanted me to kiss him'
Fri, 08 Mar 2013 03:47:32 GMT —
A McAllen family said a priest betrayed their trust and crossed the line when he harassed them after they decided to stop attending his church.
Now Father Eusebio Martinez is facing criminal charges.
Father Martinez stood before a judge with shackles on his hands and feet, emotionless as the charges were read.
His vandalism was all caught on tape.
The Villanueva family released this video showing someone drilling holes in tires.
Martin Villanueva told police the man in the video is Father Martinez, who presides over Holy Family Catholic Church in Edinburg.
"The criminal mischief stems from the allegations that he damaged some tires to the vehicle of the victim," McAllen Police Lt. Joel Morales said.
The 47-year-old priest surrendered to McAllen police on Thursday morning.
Martin Villanueva said the father has terrorized him for about two years when he decided to distanced himself from the church.
"At one time I spoke to a parishioner and a sister who are very involved in church. We went to talk to the bishop about the father, Villanueva said.We went to talk to the bishop about the father wanting me to tell him, ~I love you TM and wanting me to kiss him when we said ~hello TM or ~goodbye TM.I think that after I accused him of that, he began to cause harm to me.
All are strong allegations.
Action 4 News spoke to Father Martin TMs attorney Reynaldo Trey Garza.
He addressed the current charges 'stressing' his client TMs innocence.
He said Father Martinez is not the man in the video and they TMre prepared to fight the battle in court.
Villanueva said some in the community are upset he came forward.
He told Action 4 News he had too, because the priest believed he was above the law. I wrote a letter to the bishop, Villanueva said. It made me feel sad because he told me it wouldn't be right for him to meet with me. Then he tells me only the authorities that can fix this situation. The church is very strong with lawyers so that TMs why I decided to go to the media. It TMs not possible to allow the priest to continue to be a priest I hope the public doesn't accuse me I simply want the church to be pure like Christ."
The Diocese of Brownsville issued the following response saying:
Father Martinez denies the accusations and maintains his innocence. Bishop Daniel E. Flores has placed the priest on administrative leave until the matter is resolved. Monsignor Gustavo Barrera will oversee Holy Family Catholic Church in Edinburg.
The father TMs bond was set at $2,000 dollars, and he will be released from jail on a personal recognizance bond.
If convicted, he faces up to six months in county jail. It's unknown if more charges will be filed.Click here to follow Veronica on Twitter