Aurora priest charged with sexually abusing 2 girls younger than 13

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The Diocese of Rockford said Pedraza worked at two Aurora churches in 2013 and 2014. (Kane Co. state's attorney)

A priest who worked at two Aurora churches and in DeKalb County was arrested in Rockford on Thursday and charged with sexually abusing two children under the age of 13.

Alfredo Pedraza Arias, 49, was charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a minor, according to the Kane County state's attorney's office.

Prosecutors allege that between January 2009 and November 2014, Pedraza, then a priest at Sacred Heart Church in Aurora, sexually abused two victims, who were both younger than 13 at the time.

"The abuse is alleged to have taken place at the home of one of the victims and at the church," a statement from prosecutors said.

The Diocese of Rockford released a timeline saying Father Pedraza Arias came to the diocese from the South American country of Colombia in January 2013. He worked at Sacred Heart Parish and Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, both in Aurora, as well as the Hispanic Ministry in the DeKalb Deanery.

The Diocese says immediately after the first allegation, Pedraza was removed from "all ministry" in October 2014.

At Sacred Heart Parish on Friday, many expressed shock, sadness, and support for the priest. Some parishioners said they do not believe the allegations.

"I'm very surprised," parishioner Maria Hernandez said.

"I don't think it happened," parishioner Jesus Diaz said. Another parishioner, Elia Urbina, said she agreed.

The priest's attorney released a statement Friday: "We are going to enter a plea of not guilty, demand a trial, and hope the truth comes out so Father Pedraza can be acquitted."

The priest once lived on High Street in Aurora. For right now, he's is being held at Kane County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

He is due back in court on Thursday. If convicted, he could face anywhere from probation to 14 years in prison.

The investigation continues, and anyone with additional information should call their local police or the Kane County Child Advocacy Center at (630) 208-5160.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
Related Topics:
newspriest sex abuseAuroraRockfordKane County
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