Bail Reduced for Accused Priest

Molestation charges still pending.

Bail has been reduced to $700,000 for a Northern California priest charged with molesting a 14-year-old girl.

The Rev. Uriel Ojeda, who has been a parochial vicar at Our Lady of Mercy parish in Redding, appeared in a Sacramento courtroom on Thursday for what turned out to be a contentious hearing to reduce the $5 million bail amount.

The Sacramento Bee says the prosecutor told the judge that Ojeda confessed to a Catholic Diocese investigator after being told of the girl's allegations.

But defense lawyer Jesse Ortiz says the allegations are untrue and the 32-year-old priest is being punished by diocesan officials who dislike him.

When the judge asked if the diocese fabricated the allegations, Ortiz said "Yes.'' Ojeda hasn't entered a plea to seven child molestation counts.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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