Catholic Priest

John Velez

Ordained: 1988

In 1991, John Jairo Velez admitted to sexually abusing an altar boy in one of the parishes he served at in Salinas, California.  A subsequent lawsuit filed by the victim revealed that the diocese sought to cover up the abuse.  The victim’s parents were told that the abuse was “not a big deal” and Velez was hidden away at St. Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista (a treatment center for pedophile priests).  Velez attempted suicide soon thereafter and church officials responded by escorting him across the border and turning him over to his religious order, the Marists, in Mexico City.  Velez is reportedly still a priest, serving somewhere in Latin America.  The case against the diocese settled for $1.2 million.

Father Velez's Assignments

La PurisimaEl Paso, TX1989..1990
St. Mary of the NativitySalinas, CA1990..1991
Christ the KingSalinas, CA1990..1991
Assignment unclearColombia/Mexico1991..onward