The Diocese of Fresno placed Monsignor John Esquivel of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church on administrative leave last week, two days after allegations of sexual misconduct during the mid-1980s were made against him.

Teresa Williams, a chancellor with the diocese, confirmed Esquivel’s status on June 21. The decision came after additional information was received following a Diocesan Review Board meeting on June 17.

Sylvia Gomez Ray told of the allegations in a June 17 news conference in Bakersfield. At that time, the 52-year-old accused Esquivel of sexual misconduct that occurred when she worked as a church secretary at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bakersfield. Esquivel was priest at the church during that time.

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Williams said in the June 21 news statement that the diocese’s review board didn’t have enough information to make a recommendation when they met on June 21.

“It has now been verified that two individuals have reported to Bakersfield Police Department,” the statement read. “Pending the outcome of law enforcement’s investigation followed by a diocesan investigation, Msgr. Esquivel is on paid administrative leave effective June 20, 2019.”

Williams said that clergy to serve at St. Anthony’s were being supplied as needed through the Chancery Office.

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