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Virginia youth leader arrested on sexual battery charges

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Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 7, 2021 / 17:22 pm (CNA).

A child’s tip led police to arrest a Catholic youth leader in McLean, Virginia, on nine counts of aggravated sexual battery on Nov. 1.

Antonio Pérez-Alcalá, 75, is accused of sexually assaulting minors while serving as a local leader for Secular Institute Stabat Mater, a program dedicated to the “formation of young people toward integrating the spiritual with the secular” through Ignatian spiritual exercises with Marian devotion. Authorities say Pérez-Alcalá ran the group from his home until a child revealed to an adult that he was sexually assaulted by a leader there.

Since the investigation began, police say they have identified at least one other victim, authorities said. 

“Juveniles attended private mentoring sessions, often in Perez-Alcala’s bedroom,” according to Fairfax County Police. “The victim was sexually assaulted during the private sessions.”

While executing a search warrant Monday evening, officials seized items including tech devices, photographs, and a crucifix.

According to police, Pérez-Alcalá has held positions in the local community with access to youth since the mid-1990s. He also worked with the Catholic Diocese of Arlington from 1994 to 2008.

“This is the first time the Diocese has been made aware of complaints or allegations against Mr. Pérez-Alcalá,” the diocese said in a statement.

In addition to volunteering at Good Shepherd Parish, All Saints Parish, and St. Veronica Parish, Pérez-Alcalá also served as the diocesan Hispanic youth director before retiring in 2008, the diocese said.

As an employee and volunteer, Pérez-Alcalá agreed to routine criminal background checks and received training on the prevention and reporting of abuse, the diocese added. 

The diocese said Secular Institute Stabat Mater is a “non-diocesan Catholic entity that serves the Hispanic community throughout the Diocese.”

Both the diocese and police detectives request that anyone with further information contact officials, either at the Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800, option 3, or the Fairfax County Police Department at 703-691-2131. 

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