Visiting Priest Indicted for Sexual Assault In Central Texas

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ROCKDALE (April 20, 2009)--An 85-year-old priest has been indicted on charges of sexual assault and prohibited sexual conduct.

In 2008, Father Stephen Mary Valenta was sent to St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Rockdale from Staten Island, N.Y., to fill in for the local priest who was sent out of state for training.

The indictment stems from the sexual assault of a woman who police think is a relative during the period when Valenta was here.

A check with the Milam County District Attorney on Monday indicated authorities there are unsure of Valenta's whereabouts.

Rockdale Police Lt. J.D. Newlin, however, told News 10 he believes Valenta has been back in New York for some time.

Newlin said he is confident extradition proceedings will be initiated, but said that actually is up to the Sheriff’s Office.

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