The Washington Post

Springfield priest arrested for sex assault

A Springfield priest was charged with sexually assaulting a man who had come to him for guidance in February, Fairfax County police said.

The Rev. Luis Fernando Franco Henao, 40, of Saint Bernadette Parish turned himself in to authorities Wednesday, police said. He is facing a count of sexual battery.

Franco Henao allegedly inappropriately touched a 29-year-old man on the parish grounds Feb. 2, after the man came to him seeking support, police said.

The victim reported the crime at the end of November. Franco Henao was processed and released Wednesday. Police declined to release further details about the case.

Church officials referred questions to the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. Michael J. Donohue, a spokesman for the diocese, said Franco Henao had been removed from his duties as soon as they learned of the impending arrest Tuesday.

Donohue said Franco Henao was a priest from a Colombian Diocese of Málaga-Soatá and had served the Spanish-speaking parishioners at Saint Bernadette since 2010.

“The Diocese of Arlington is committed to full cooperation with law enforcement regarding this allegation, and we encourage anyone with knowledge of this case to contact the Fairfax County Police Department,” Donohue said.

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