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Los Banos Police Department
Monday August 18th, 2014 :: 04:55 p.m. PDT


Investigation of Local Priest

On Thursday, August 14, 2014, representatives of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno contacted the Department after a concerned parent reported inappropriate behavior involving a Los Banos St. Joseph's Catholic Parish priest and their teen age child.
Detectives launched an investigation into the matter and at this point are focusing on allegations of internet related sex crimes.

“This is a top priority for the Department and we are working closely with Diocese officials to ensure the safety of all parishioners.”
- Gary Brizzee, Chief of Police

The involved priest has been relocated and placed on administrative leave by the Diocese of Fresno. Rev. Joe Baca has been appointed Interim Administrator of the Los Banos Parish for an indefinite period of time.

On Friday, August 15, 2014, Detectives served a search warrant at the St. Joseph’s rectory and seized computer equipment, hard-drives and other evidence. Detectives are continuing to contact individuals potentially involved in this investigation.

“The forensic analysis involved in these types of cases is extensive. Department of Justice forensic experts will be used to examine and preserve digital evidence associated with this investigation.”
- Jason Hedden, Commander

This investigation is on-going and no other information will be release at this time. Any new developments will be released in an update to this press release as information becomes available.
Anyone with information relevant to this case is urged to contact Detective Eduardo Solis or Sergeant Ivan Mendez at (209) 827-7070, extension “0”.

To leave an anonymous crime tip call 209-827-7070 Ext. 288. If you have access to a computer and the internet you can also leave an anonymous tip at the Police Department’s web page at At the bottom of the “Contact” page simply click on the “report graffiti and other crime” link or visit the Merced Area Crime Stoppers by telephone at 1-855-725-2420, or at

Los Banos Police Department
5th St
Los Banos, CA 93635

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 209-827-7070

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