Former Atlanta priest charged in Sacramento with child molestation

The priest served at two metro Atlanta parishes from 2005 to 2008

Sacramento police have charged a former Atlanta area priest with eight counts of sexual abuse of an underage girl in California between 1996 and 1998.

A felony warrant has been issued for the priest, Roberto Jaramillo, 70, who is believed to have moved to his home diocese in Colombia after serving for a decade in several parishes in Sacramento and Roseville, Calif. He later served in the Atlanta Archdiocese, according to a press release on the Diocese of Sacramento’s website and an article in The Sacramento Bee.

His name has been added to the Sacramento Diocese’s list of clergy “credibly” accused of sex abuse. In the warrant, which was signed in August, he is referred to as Roberto Leon Jaramillo-Alzate and is charged with eight counts of lewd and lascivious acts on the girl

The Archdiocese of Atlanta said in a statement that it has been notified of the accusations against Jaramillo but currently does not have information to “indicate that Father Roberto Jaramillo was accused of abusing a minor while serving in Atlanta. We also have uncovered no evidence that any minor complained about him. He is no longer serving in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.”

The statement said the archdiocese continues to review its files dating from the time he served in Atlanta.

According to a 2008 article in The Georgia Bulletin, the official newspaper of the archdiocese, he was a parochial vicar at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta and was assigned as a parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Americas Mission in Lilburn.

The Atlanta Archdiocese covers 69 counties in the northern and central parts of Georgia and includes 1.2 million Catholics.

In 2018, then Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory released the names of more than a dozen priests, seminarians, and those under direct authority of a religious order “credibly” accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Spokeswoman Maureen Smith said Jaramillo would be added to the list.

Reports of the abuse of the girl, who was under the age of 14, were first brought to the attention of the diocese by a third party in 2021. The diocese notified law enforcement and has made numerous attempts to contact and interview the victim in order to investigate the matter.

In August 2022, according to the statement, the diocese learned the case was the focus of an investigation by the Sacramento Police Department.

The diocese shared its information with investigators and also presented the matter to the diocese’s Independent Review Board, which this week approved adding Jaramillo’s name to the credibly accused list.

Mike McDonnell, a spokesman for SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) said the group’s main concern is in areas where Jaramillo may have worked and potential victims, “because we know abusers rarely have one or two victims and they carry themselves and their predilections wherever they may go.”

The diocese has received two additional allegations involving Jaramillo. In 1999, Jaramillo was accused of kissing a juvenile boy. Jaramillo denied this accusation, and investigations by both the diocese and local law enforcement at the time found insufficient evidence to warrant further action, according to the statement.

In 2020, the diocese, which is sharing information about the allegations with Jaramillo’s home diocese in Colombia, also received a report of Jaramillo sexually abusing an adult male in 2001. The victim was encouraged to report the matter to law enforcement.