Gustavo Gómez Santos, a Roman Catholic priest with the Yakima, Washington Diocese, stands accused of fondling a teenager. Due to the statute of limitations, Gómez Santos cannot be prosecuted for his crimes.
A Granger pastor has been removed from his position in the Roman Catholic Church due to reports of sexual abuse of a minor.
Reverend Gustavo Gómez Santos, who was most recently the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, was permanently removed from all public ministry, according to a June 12 news release from the Yakima Diocese.
Gómez Santos, 51, was placed on leave May 5 after Yakima County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) detectives shared an interview from a 21-year-old former Mattawa resident with the Diocese.
The victim reported he was fondled by the priest while he was serving as pastor at St. Juan Diego Parish in Cowiche roughly five years ago.
The Diocese began an investigation after YCSO officials determined the incident could not be prosecuted due to the statute of limitations, reports said.
Reports said the priest denied the allegations during the investigation but admitted to other violations including letting minors stay overnight alone in his residence in several parishes, serving alcohol to minors, messaging minors and giving them expensive gifts, including trips to Disneyland.
Reports were made by a friend of the victim confirming the abuse was disclosed to him when they were teens and reports from other men said they were the recipients of gifts, massages and other inappropriate attention from the priest when they were teens.
An October 25, 2016 KIMA news story states:
A new child sex abuse lawsuit is filed in Yakima County Superior Court on allegations that a Reverend sexually abused a parishioner when they were a minor.
The former St. Juan San Diego parishioner filed a civil lawsuit against the Diocese of Yakima that claims Reverend Gustavo Gomez Santos abused him, according to an Oct. 25 news release.
The plaintiff said Father Santos sexually abused him at the parish rectory.
The lawsuit claims the Diocese of Yakima knew or should have known about the danger the priest posed to children but did not take steps necessary to remove him from his position.
Father Santos was permanently removed from his position as of May 2017.