Santa Monica Priest Sentenced in Battery Case

Misdemeanor convictions land Rafael Venegas in county jail—for one day.

A St. Anne's Catholic Church and Shrine priest has been sentenced to one day in county jail and one year of probation for supplying alcohol to a minor and battery, the authorities reported Thursday.

Under the plea deal, Rafael Venegas was also sentenced to 160 hours of community service and counseling, including for dealing with sexual compulsion, through the archdiocese, according to the Santa Monica Police Department.

The misdemeanor charges filed by the City Attorney's office against Venegas initially included sexual battery, but that was changed to battery under the plea deal.

The police department opened its investigation into Venegas after allegations were brought by the victim, a 20-year-old woman  who is not a parishioner of St. Annes, on July 1. She told police the incident occurred on church property near Colorado Avenue and 20th Street in September of last year.

St. Anne's Catholic Church is one of three parishes in Santa Monica and is a fixture in the Pico neighborhood. Venegas was appointed "administrator pro tempre" there on July 1, 2011, according to the church's website.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly stated Rafael Venegas pleaded guilty to the charges. The please was "no contest."

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Elizabeth November 16, 2012 at 08:03 AM
Battery a minor? Are you sure you are a competent journalist? Read the news: she was an adult! You said, Fr plead guilty, which is a lie. Get the police report! " No contest" is not equal to guilty ( a very thin difference, but not the same). Shame on you! You are the most dishonest and twisted journalist. -- Elizabeth
Jenna Chandler November 16, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Thanks for pointing out the errors, Elizabeth. I've made the corrections.


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