A Long Beach-based priest with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was charged in Ventura County today with possession of images depicting the sexual abuse of children.
Rodolfo Martinez-Guevara, 38, was arrested Wednesday in Long Beach. According to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, he is accused of possessing “over 600 images of child sexual abuse material, including images and videos of prepubescent minors under the age of 12.”
“As a priest, the defendant is in a position of tremendous power, authority and trust. The alleged crimes deeply violate that trust and involve a disturbing number of sexual images of young boys,” District Attorney Erik Nasarenko said in a statement. “These are not simply images and videos. Rather, if found true, they constitute horrific exploitation of our most vulnerable, and the actions of the defendant must be met by the full force of the law.”
A representative for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prosecutors said Martinez-Guevara was living at the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit in Long Beach, adjacent to St. Maria Goretti Church and St. Maria Goretti Catholic School. Through the Missionaries, he had ties to a number of churches, including Our Lady of Guadalupe in Oxnard, according to Ventura County prosecutors.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, an investigation into Martinez-Guevara began following “several reports” made to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Investigators ultimately determined that he was believed to be in possession of large numbers of photos and videos of child sexual abuse material, most involving boys, prosecutors said.
He was arrested by members of the Ventura County Child Exploitation &Human Trafficking Task Force, which includes the Ventura and San Bernardino County sheriff’s departments, Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, Ventura and Oxnard police departments, the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Martinez-Guevara is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Ventura County Superior Court.