By Danae Snell
SACRAMENTO — Defendant Slomo George is accused of abusing his capacity of being a priest when he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl whose parents opened their home to him so he could bless their new business.
Defendant George is currently in custody on $450,000 bail, charged with lewd acts on a child.
In Sacramento County Superior Court Friday, Defense Attorney Gil Somera appeared before the court to request his client’s release on his own recognizance because he is a priest for the Orthodox Church of India and is a nuclear pharmacy technician—which involves “working in the pharmacy to provide medicine for cancer patients and heart patients.”
“As the motion states, he is 55 years old with no prior criminal record and he would apply to any conditions that the court sees fit,” said Somera.
Judge Steve White denied Somera’s request to release the defendant on his own recognizance, after Deputy District Attorney TeriAnn Grimes informed the court of the details of the case.
DDA Grimes explained, “In this capacity is when he committed these offenses. It was a family that was opening a small business and in that role it is customary in their religious culture for their priest to bless the business. So, the defendant was staying with that family as it was customary to do so in that religious ceremony.”
While the defendant was welcomed and trusted in their home, “The mother and the father left to go to the business to continue preparing it for its opening and left the priest at home with their two young daughters.”
Both of the young girls claimed that the “defendant asked them to sit on the couch with him” and began engaging in unlawful lewd acts with the young girls.
The defendant is only being charged with lewd acts with one of the children because “[t]he older sister saw that the younger sister was seeing what was going on so in order to protect her sister she sent her to go take a bath.”
This was caused by the “fear that she had for both herself and her younger sister and the defendant, given the position he has in their religious community,” according to the DDA.
The DDA opposed no bail release based on many reasons, including, “The victim’s family has disclosed that since the filing of this case there has been a big push from her community both locally in Sacramento and from the Indian religious community back in India for them to drop charges and there is a big support around the defendant. There is indication…there were allegations made against the defendant when he was serving as a priest in the Chicago community.”
The DDA concluded, “Given the position of trust that he violated” and the “great ties he has outside of the United States,” the bail is appropriate.
The defense offered to surrender the defendant’s passports, enforce a GPS locator, and any other needs for the court, but Judge White expressed that he is “not comfortable reducing it” at this time.
The judge mentioned that it was “a close call,” but that the defendant’s ties outside the community posed a potential flight risk. This ruling was made without prejudice and could be changed at a later time if more information becomes available.
Defendant George’s next hearing is Oct. 16.
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