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Father Hector David Mendoza-Vela arrested March 28

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Father Hector David Mendoza-Vela arrested March 28

OAKLAND – Parishioners at Corpus Christi Parish in Fremont and St. John the Baptist Parish in San Lorenzo were informed at Masses last night and today that Father Hector David Mendoza-Vela had been arrested on charges of lewd acts with a child. The two parishes received a statement from Bishop Barber in advance of notification of the general public, since Father Mendoza-Vela had served at both parishes. The statement was read at Saturday evening and Sunday Masses, in English and Spanish.

The Diocese has not been in contact with Father Mendoza-Vela since his arrest Thursday evening. He is being held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, with arraignment scheduled for Tuesday.

The statement from Bishop Barber follows.  

"I am saddened to inform you I have placed Father David Mendoza-Vela on administrative leave. On Friday, March 29, the Diocese learned that Father Mendoza-Vela had been arrested on Thursday evening. While we don’t have all the details, the alleged behavior is in clear violation of the Diocese’s code of conduct and the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

 "The Diocese has been in contact with Fremont law enforcement and is following its internal protocols. This means, while the situation is being investigated, Father Mendoza-Vela may not present himself in public as a priest nor engage in any priestly ministry. As is normative for such a process, the Diocese will not provide any further information during the investigation.

 "Anyone with information they believe relevant to this case should contact the Fremont police department immediately at 510-790-6800. 

 "I will be appointing a temporary parochial administrator for the parish as soon as possible.

 "We are committed to a safe environment for all. Anyone who has information concerning an allegation of sexual misconduct by a clergy member or any diocesan employee or volunteer should contact the local civil authority, i.e. police or sheriff department, and the chancellor for the Diocese of Oakland, Mr. Stephen Wilcox, [email protected] or 510-267-8334.

 "I ask you to join with me in prayers for all involved in this situation, but most especially anyone who has been harmed. Thank you for your prayers and your witness of faith. As the body of Christ, your commitment to our Lord and to one another will carry your faith community through this situation.

 "Please know I am holding each of you in my prayers and I stand in solidarity with you during this difficult time, especially during this holy season of Lent. As we receive more information I will be updating you." 


Hector David Mendoza-Vela was born Feb. 21, 1977, in El Salvador. He came to the United States in 2008, and is a legal resident of the U.S. He was ordained May 18, 2013, for the Diocese of Oakland. His first assignment as a priest was to St. John the Baptist Parish in San Lorenzo. He was appointed parochial administrator for Corpus Christi Parish in Fremont in 2016.

The Diocese of Oakland serves two counties in the East Bay region, Alameda and Contra Costa, and includes approximately 500,000 Catholics in 84 parishes.
For more information contact:
Helen Osman, Communications | Diocese of Oakland
2121 Harrison Street, Suite 100 | Oakland, CA 94612
512.785.3006 | [email protected]