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Santa Monica Priest Accused of Sexual Assault  


By Lookout Staff

July 27, 2012 -- Santa Monica Police are investigating allegations that Father Rafael Venegas, pastor of St. Anne’s Parish, assaulted an adult woman in the church parking lot last September.

According police, the woman is not a parishioner of the church.

“It’s an ongoing investigation,” said SMPD Press Officer Sergeant Richard Lewis, adding that no arrest has been made.

“We are looking for witnesses, additional victims, anyone who could corroborate the victim’s story,” he said.

A victim of sexual assault waiting for almost a year before reporting it “could be considered common,” said Lewis. “Some people wait years.”

The investigation started on July 1 when the victim contacted SMPD about the alleged attack.

Calls to Venegas were not returned.

SMPD is asking anyone with additional information about the alleged attack to call Detective Phillip DeRyck at 310.458.8944, Sergeant Darrick Jacob at 310.458.8460, or the department switchboard 24-hours a day at 310.458.8495.

Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS or visit the website at


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