Yuba City Choir Leader Apprehended on Child Sex Abuse Charges

Hermendegildo Huizar-Vera, 51, a volunteer choir leader at St. Isidore Catholic Church in Yuba City, was arrested March 24 and is awaiting extradition to Arizona, where he will face child sex abuse charges.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about this case is that, in order to become a volunteer choir leader in Yuba City, Huizar submitted to a background check in March 2015, which came back clean.

Fingerprinting volunteers was a measure instituted by American Catholic dioceses in the wake of highly publicized sex abuse scandals involving the church. The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was declared by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002.

Nevertheless, molestations by religious figures can and do happen, and have marred the lives of countless American children and families. You should act quickly to protect your rights as a victim if you suspect your child has been molested by a member of the clergy.

Liability in Clergy Sex Abuse Cases

Liability may lie with two parties in a clergy sex abuse case: with the molester who committed the illegal acts, and with the church or religious organization itself—if it can be proven that said organization knew about what was happening but was negligent in reporting the abuse to authorities, or even actively covering it up.

To prove the liability of a religious institution in a clergy sex abuse case, the following conditions must be met:

  • The molester was associated with or in the employ of the particular religious organization at the time the molestation(s) took place;
  • The religious organization was previously aware of what was happening (either because of parent complaints, eyewitness testimony, or the molester’s unclean criminal record);
  • The religious organization was remiss in its handling of this knowledge—that they failed to report the crime to police or Child Protective Services, or even took steps to hush the whole affair up.

The Child Sex Abuse Lawyers at Estey Bomberger Can Help You

If you suspect that you or a loved one has fallen victim to clergy sex abuse and you don’t know where to turn for help, give us a call. Our clergy sex abuse lawyers can give you a free and confidential legal consultation and inform you of your legal options. It’s important to act quickly, however. Evidence disappears, witnesses fade into the background. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to secure your rights as a victim. Get in touch with us today.