A northern New Jersey priest charged with having sexual contact with a minor made his first court appearance Friday.

Jose Lopez (Passaic County Prosecutor's Office)

The Record of Woodland Park reports that Father Jose Lopez did not enter a plea during a brief hearing to transfer his case to state court.

Lopez faces charges including child luring and endangerment and criminal sexual contact.

Prosecutors say a 14 year-old female parishioner said Lopez lured her to his private quarters at St. Mary's Assumption church in Passaic, and allegedly engaged in sexual contact.

The Colombian-born Lopez is in the United States on a religious worker's visa. He is also affiliated with St. Nicholas church in Passaic.

The Paterson Diocese says it alerted authorities when informed of the allegations against Lopez, and have placed him on administrative leave.

 

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