Father John Velez
Diocese of Monterey/Marist Order
- 1989-1990 La Purisima (El Paso, TX)
- 1990-1991 Mary of the Nativity (Salinas, CA)
- 1990-1991 Sacred Heard (Salinas, CA)
- 1990-1991 Christ the King/Cristo Rey
- 1991-2011 Sent to Mexico after accusation of child sexual abuse
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father John Velez:
A native of Bogota, Colombia and Marist order priest, Fr. John Velez worked in the Diocese of Monterey. In 2003, Fr. John Velez was accused of sexually abusing an altar boy when he was assigned to St. Mary of the Nativity in Salinas, CA from 1990-1991.
The Diocese allowed Fr. John Velez to work in its parishes even after Velez left La Purishima in El Paso, Texas “under a cloud” of suspicion. According to media reports, Fr. Juan Guillen reported Fr. John Velez to local church officials after the boy told him about Velez’s abuse. Shockingly, Fr. Juan Guillen ended up sexually abusing the same boy later on and is now serving a 10-year sentence in Arizona.
Fr. John Velez admitted to sexually abusing the altar boy in 1991. He was sent to St. Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista where he tried to commit suicide. After being hospitalized following his incident, he was then escorted to Mexico City and turned over to his order.
According to media reports, in 2009, Diocesan officials admitted they didn’t alert the authorities when learning about Fr. John Velez’s abuse. Rather, they told the boy’s parents that the abuse was “not a big deal” and that it “happens to a lot of kids”.
In 2009, The Monterey Diocese settled with the former altar boy for $1.2 million and apologized to the victim and his family. Velez was then deported back to Colombia.
In 2019, Fr. Velez’s name was included on the Diocese of Monterey’s 2019 List of Credibly Accused Clergy of Sexual Abuse. The list also states that Velez is deceased.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Monterey in California. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in one of California’s Catholic dioceses, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Monterey now have legal options due to a voluntary compensation fund created by the Diocese of Monterey, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help.