Priest charged with sexually assaulting man in Fairfax County

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Local,Virginia,Crime,Naomi Jagoda

A parish priest was arrested for sexually assaulting a 29-year-old man who sought him out for support and guidance in Springfield, police said.

Father Luis Fernando Franco Henao, 40, is charged with sexual battery, Fairfax County police said. He turned himself into detectives on Wednesday and has been released.

Franco Henao allegedly groped the man on Feb. 2 at St. Bernadette Parish, located at 7600 Old Keene Mill Road in Springfield. The victim did not report the incident until Nov. 30.

A church and a Catholic school are both located at the address, but police spokesman Officer Eddy Azcarate said he did not know where on the parish property the assault took place.

UPDATE: Michael Donohue, communications director for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, said Henao is a priest for a diocese in Colombia who had been ministering to the Hispanic community at St. Bernadette Church since 2010. Upon learning about the charge against Henao on Tuesday, the Diocese of Arlington removed him from the ministry and withdrew his authorization to practice as a priest in the diocese.

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

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