Convicted Child Molester Jailed For Volunteering at Church Festival

30 days in jail for church volunteer who was barred from child contact.

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, Apr 11, 2013  |  Updated 3:58 PM PDT
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The Cost of Going to Church

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A South Bay church allowed a sex offender to volunteer at festival, which was a violation of the offender's probation.

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A convicted child molester will spend 30 days in jail for violating his probation by volunteering at a Catholic church-run festival -- but prosecutors had harsh words for the church for letting Mark Gurries work there in the first place, according to reports.

Mark Gurries's 30-day jail sentence comes after he received permission from the Diocese of San Jose to work at the St. Frances Cabrini Parish festival, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Gurries, 51, was convicted in 2010 of a "lewd and lascivious act" on a minor, the newspaper reported. He was sentenced to a year in jail, put on a lifetime registry of sex offenders, and barred from working or supervising children.

He was asked to volunteer at the church festival by a parish priest who defended his presence there and said he should be forgiven, the newspaper reported. But a student there recognized him as his victim's abuser, and notified Santa Clara County sheriffs.

The priest has since resigned.

"How that institution and its leaders, whether at St. Frances Cabrini or beyond, could allow a known sex registrant child molester to work at the school is beyond my comprehension," a prosecutor said.

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