Former Aurora priest remains in ICE custody pending removal to Colombia
A former Aurora priest who avoided a jury trial on child sex abuse charges through a misdemeanor plea deal Friday remains in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody pending removal to his home country of Colombia.
As of Monday evening, Alfredo Pedraza Arias was listed in custody at the McHenry County Adult Correctional Facility.
Kane County’s lead prosecutor referenced the pending deportation when addressing the plea deal, which does not require Arias to register as a sex offender.
“We made this decision after a thorough analysis of the evidence, communication with the victims’ families and assurances that the defendant would be removed from the United States,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said through a spokesman Friday afternoon.
On Saturday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation officers arrested Arias at the Kane County jail in St. Charles after he completed his criminal sentence, ICE spokeswoman Nicole Alberico said in an email.
Arias, 51, lost his temporary religious worker visa after he was charged with sexually abusing two girls at Sacred Heart Church in Aurora and at one of the girls’ homes between 2012 and 2014. Arias had previously pleaded not guilty to a five-count indictment.
A federal immigration judge in June 2017 ordered Arias removed from the United States, and he waived his right to appeal that decision. His removal is pending, as immigration officials plans to execute the judge’s removal order, Alberico said.
Set for Feb. 20, Arias’ trial had already been rescheduled several times and was likely about to be pushed again, according to a recent court order and the priest’s lawyer.
On Friday, Arias pleaded guilty to battery, a class A misdemeanor. He agreed to a sentence of 205 days in county jail with credit for time served.
Kane County Jail records showed Arias was released as scheduled Saturday morning.
Kane County Circuit Judge Linda Abrahamson, who has been presiding over the case, accepted the plea.
Without the guilty plea, Arias’ attorney David Camic said it appeared certain the trial would have been continued again “because we were about to file some additional pretrial motions.”
Camic said the plea is supported by the facts in the case and that Arias “did not commit a criminal sexual offense.”
Immigration officials first arrested Arias at the county’s St. Charles courthouse while he was free on bond after a hearing in May. Kane County prosecutors sought a series of bail and custody orders in an effort to keep him here for trial.
The first time Abrahamson increased Arias’ bail, it was posted within days, landing him back in the custody of immigration officials until the judge increased bail again.