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.
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?"
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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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