NJ priest convicted of sexually molesting teen inside church
A 37-year-old Passaic County priest was convicted on child luring and endangerment charges related to a 2013 incident in which police say he put a 14-year-old female parishioner on his lap and began to engage in sexual contact.
Father Jose Lopez-Durango of St. Mary’s Assumption Church in Passaic, was convicted by a jury of of second-degree luring, third-degree endangering the welfare of a child and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact, authorities said. The jury acquitted him on a second degree charge of attempted sexual assault.
Father Lopez-Durango,was arrested on July 25, 2013, on a complaint that he lured a 14-year-old parishioner at St. Mary's Church into his private quarters within the church rectory. Authorities say he put the girl on his lap and began to kiss her and engage in sexual contact.
Authorities say Father Lopez-Durango was also affiliated with St. Nicholas Church in Passaic. The priest is a native of Colombia, South America, but has been living in Chester on a religious work visa.
Father Lopez-Durango’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 18, according to the Prosecutor's Office. His bail was revoked by the judge after the verdict was delivered.
Authorities say when Father Lopez-Durango is sentenced, he could face up to 10 years in state prison on the child luring charge, up to five years for child endangerment and up to 18 months for criminal sexual contact.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.