Last Update: Thursday, May 16, 2013
|Sadness, Indignation at St. Didacus School after Volunteer Softball Coach Charged with Sexually Abusing Student|
|Written by Alex Garcia|
|Thursday, 21 March 2013 05:38|
Surprise and indignation was expressed by parishioners who left mass at St. Didacus Catholic Church in Sylmar on Friday, March 15, upon learning a volunteer softball coach at its Catholic school was accused of sexually abusing a female student.
Epifanio "Pete" Nevarez, 58, was arrested March 4 and faces four felony counts of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl. The victim's family members say the abuse took place after school at Nevarez' Canyon Country home and involved at least one other girl.
Nevarez, in custody, was denied bail.
A parents meeting was held Thursday, March 14, at St. Didacus to discuss Nevarez' arrest. The parents opted not speak to media afterwards. Reporters were not allowed into the meeting.
But church parishioners, who said they had not heard about the arrest, were surprised and sad to learn about it.
"Anything that you do against a child has to be punished so that other children don't suffer," said Alicia Gonzalez, a church volunteer and leader of the nighttime adoration.
"It's wrong. I hope they keep a closer eye on people who work with children. You can't trust anybody," expressed Sanjuana Puebla.
"I hope they keep him behind bars so that he doesn't cause more harm," said Maria Ponce. "You can't even believe it, because this is a church, but these people look for children to do harm."
On Wednesday, March 6, Principal Frank Cantu sent letters to parents informing them of Nevarez' arrest.
"Today Mr. Epifanio Nevarez was charged in the Criminal Courts in San Fernando with 4 felony counts of Sexual misconduct involving a minor. Mr. Nevarez assisted our Softball team as a volunteer coach last school year. The victim for whom he is charged is currently a girl in our middle school," the letter read.
"On Monday of this week, I learned that the matter had been reported to the Sheriff's Department over the weekend. We have been working with the Sheriff's Office and the Archdiocese since that time. It is my understanding that the misconduct occurred within the last year. Please rest assured that we will be working with our school community to provide support and outreach as we move forward.
"Finally, I know that you can appreciate that this is a very sad and difficult message for me to relay by telephone, but I believe it is essential that you have access to this information immediately. I ask that you please appreciate and understand my desire to protect the confidentiality of this for our students. I am also asking that you keep all of our children in your prayers, your own, as well as all impacted by this information. May God's blessing be with all of you."
According to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Nevarez was no longer a volunteer assistant softball coach for the school when he was arrested. The archdiocese said because Nevarez was a volunteer, a background check was not done because he would not be supervising children alone.
Nevarez was questioned by law authorities in 2007 in connection to the death of his first wife, Sandra Nevarez, who disappeared from a Laundromat in Sylmar Jan. 17, 1995. Her remains were found on Nov. 21, 1996, and they were just positively identified through DNA in December 2012. Her death was ruled a homicide, with the cause of death being sharp force trauma and other factors.
Nevarez was never charged in his wife's death.
Nevarez can receive a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison if convicted of the molestation charges he now faces.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 21 March 2013 18:18|