Born in Costa Rica, Mario Blanco worked in parishes in the Diocese of Sacramento from 1969-1973. In 1973, he was dismissed due to allegations that he had been sexually abusing boys in the community. Beginning in 1980, he served as a priest at a church in Tacoma, WA, that does not recognize the authority of the Vatican. In 2003, it was reported that although the Diocese of Sacramento had presumed he was deceased, he was in reality alive and had become so prominent in the traditionalist community that the actor Mel Gibson regularly flew him back to California to celebrate Mass for traditionalist congregations. In 2005, the Diocese of Sacramento agreed to pay 16 plaintiffs an average of $1.1 million to settle their claims of sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by Blanco.