“A former Aurora priest who avoided a jury trial on child sex abuse charges through a misdemeanor plea deal is back in Colombia, and his probation in Kane County has been terminated.
Alfredo Pedraza Arias, 51, lost his temporary religious worker visa after he was charged with sexually abusing two girls at Sacred Heart Church in Aurora and at one of the girls’ homes between 2012 and 2014. In June 2017, a federal immigration judge ordered Arias removed from the United States, a decision the priest waived his right to appeal.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation officers arrested Arias Feb. 10 at the Kane County jail in St. Charles after he completed his criminal sentence, ICE spokeswoman Nicole Alberico said in an email. On Feb. 26, ICE deportation officers executed the removal order and removed Arias to Colombia, Alberico said.
On Friday, an order closed the Kane County criminal case, terminating his probation.
As trial was approaching, Arias, who had previously pleaded not guilty to a five-count felony indictment, pleaded guilty to battery, a class A misdemeanor. He agreed to a sentence of 205 days in county jail with credit for time served, and was released as scheduled Feb. 10.
The deal explicitly did not require Arias to register as a sex offender, though it did put him on sex offender probation for 24 months and stipulated he’d have to comply with a sex offender evaluation and treatment, if so ordered. He was also to pay $410 in costs and have no contact with either victim or their immediate family members.
Kane County Circuit Judge Linda Abrahamson accepted the plea.
Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon previously referenced the pending deportation when addressing the plea agreement.
Arias’ attorney, David Camic, has said the plea is supported by the facts, maintaining that Arias didn’t commit a criminal sex offense.
When the judge raised Arias bail in an attempt to keep him in custody and away from ICE, Camic said parishioners came up with thousands of dollars to free him again.
Sacred Heart Rev. Msgr. Arquimedes Vallejo said his knowledge of the case came from television and the papers, and that he trusted in the courts and the justice system.
Vallejo said he couldn’t say much, but he knew a lot of people at the church said they missed Arias. He said he had not talked to the families of the priest’s accusers.
“Everyone has the right to … express their feelings,” Vallejo said.
Vallejo said he was not aware of any effort to bring Arias back to the U.S.”