Diocese offers loan to priest accused in sex case

The Archdiocese of Portland has offered an open-ended loan to the Rev. Angel Armando Perez to cover legal fees as he fights an accusation that he fondled a 12-year-old boy.

Archbishop John G. Vlazny approved the loan to Perez this week, Archdiocese of Portland spokesman Bud Bunce said Friday. Police said Perez chased a 12-year-old boy down a Woodburn street early Monday while dressed only in his underwear.

Perez served a parochial vicar at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Corvallis from May 2002 to July 2005.

“It’s available if he needs it,” Bunce said of the loan.

Bunce said he didn’t have details on the loan or how it would work. Parishioners in Woodburn also have begun to raise money for Perez’s defense, he said.

The Salem boy told investigators he ran from Perez’s church-owned house, with Perez chasing after him.

The 46-year-old parish priest at St. Luke Catholic Church made an initial appearance Tuesday in Marion County Circuit Court on accusations of sexual abuse, abuse of a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct, furnishing alcohol to a minor and driving under the influence.

Police said the boy told them the priest gave him a beer and he drank about half of it and that Perez also fondled him. Court documents filed after Perez’s arrest say the boy awoke to flashes and thinks the priest was taking cellphone photos of him.

Detectives wrote in their affidavit that the priest, a native of Mexico who has permanent legal residency in the U.S., told them he drank too much at a community event and doesn’t remember what happened after he and the boy watched a movie.

David Clohessy, director of the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the church will cover the cost of defense for priests “in the overwhelming majority of cases,” but it’s usually not called a loan.

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