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Priest at Santa Monica church charged with sexual battery

July 30, 2012 |  6:43 pm

Rafael Venegas, a priest at St. Anne in Santa Monica, has been charged with sexual batteryA priest at St. Anne Catholic Church in Santa Monica was charged with committing sexual battery against a 20-year-old woman and giving her alcohol, police said Monday evening.

The victim is not a parishioner but reported that she was attacked by Rafael Venegas in September 2011 on the church grounds at 2017 Colorado Ave., the Santa Monica Police Department said.

Venegas was charged by the Santa Monica city attorney's office with one count of sexual battery and one count of furnishing alcohol to a minor under 21, police said in a statement.

Venegas, accompanied by his attorney, turned himself in Monday to authorities at the Police Department. 

He was released from custody after posting $20,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Division 147 at the LAX Courthouse.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Jacob at (310) 458-8460.


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— Robert J. Lopez


Photo: Rafael Venegas. Credit: Santa Monica Police Department