Former Long Beach Priest Sentenced for Sex Crimes

Church members were in court Wednesday to support Luis Jose Cuevas, who served in North Long Beach for seven years before his July 2012 arrest

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    A former Long Beach priest who entered a plea of no contest in a child sex abuse case is scheduled for sentencing Wednesday. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013)

    A former Long Beach priest who entered a plea of no contest to sexual assault charges -- including lewd acts involving a child -- was sentenced Wednesday and ordered to register as a sex offender.

    Luis Jose Cuevas, 68, who served the North Long Beach Catholic community for seven years, entered the no-contest plea in December. He was charged with eight misdemeanor counts of sex assault involving two women and one felony count of a lewd acts involving a child.

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    The girl, 17, accused the priest of repeatedly groping her at the church during a period of two years.

    He was sentenced to five years felony probation, 40 hours of community service and one year of offender counseling. He also must register as a sex offender.

    "This is a 68-year-old gentleman who is now facing the last third of his life," said defense attorney George Bird Jr. "What is he going to now do?"

    He was prohibited from being alone with anyone under 19 years of age, unless accompanied by the child's biological or adoptive parent.

    Cuevas was a parish priest at Athanasious Catholic Church. He was arrested in July 2012.

    "I know what he did with the community of the church," said Martha Montes, a parishioner. "I believe in my heart that he's innocent."

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