A priest who formerly was with the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento has been added to the list of clergy accused of child sex abuse, and authorities are searching for him.
Roberto Jaramillo, who served at multiple churches in the Sacramento region for 10 years, is accused of rape and other sexual assault involving a girl under the age of 14 between 1996 and 1999. The Sacramento Police Department confirmed on Saturday that a felony warrant had been issued.
Between 1995 and 2005, Jaramillo served at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Immaculate Conception Parish and St. Rose Parish in Sacramento and St. Rose Parish in Roseville. Jaramillo, 70, left the Diocese of Sacramento to work for the Archdiocese of Atlanta before returning to his home diocese in Colombia in 2008.
The diocese was notified of the allegations by a third party in 2021, according to a statement released Friday. They have two additional allegations involving Jaramillo.
He was accused of kissing a boy in 1999 and denied the allegation. Investigations by the diocese and law enforcement at the time found insufficient evidence to warrant further action, according to the diocese.
Then, two years later, Jaramillo was accused of sexually abusing a male adult. The diocese said it did not receive a report of this information until 2020 and continues to share information about the allegations with the diocese in Colombia.
“The actions described in these matters are reprehensible and sickening,” said Jaime Soto, bishop of Sacramento, in a statement. “It is heartbreaking to consider the betrayal these sins represent toward innocent victims.
Survivors group reacts
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests criticized the diocese in a statement Friday, saying they “failed twice to remove Jaramillo.” The organization also questioned whether there may be more victims from Jaramillo’s time in Atlanta.
“The Diocese of Sacramento, in our viewpoint, wants to appear aggressive in tackling the pandemic situation of clerical abuse, yet it only required the review board a short time in late summer to determine that this priest was an abuser previously identified in the 1990s,” SNAP wrote. “We know this is not an isolated case, but rather another failure to safeguard children and adults from an abuser reported to the diocese.”
Whom to call
The Sacramento Police Department’s sexual abuse and child abuse department is asking anyone with information on Jaramillo to call Det. Matthew Wollman at 916-808-1223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The list of accused priests and deacons who worked in Sacramento can be viewed at scd.org/clergyabuse/list.
The diocese encourages anyone who may be a victim of clergy sexual abuse, or who knows someone, to report it to law enforcement. The Diocese’s Pastoral Care Coordinator may be reached through a toll-free number at 866-777-9133.