Arlington Heights priest pleads not guilty to child porn charges
A Roman Catholic priest facing child pornography charges pleaded not guilty Friday, according to Cook County prosecutors.
Clovis Vilchez-Parra, 34, an associate pastor at Mission San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights, was charged in February with possession of child pornography and reproduction of child pornography following a joint undercover investigation by the Cook County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Palatine, Bartlett and Chicago police departments. Prosecutors say the task force was investigating individuals searching for and downloading images of child exploitation.
In the wake of Vilchez-Parra's arrest, Chicago Archdiocese officials removed him from ministry pending the outcome of the case.
A native of Peru, Vilchez-Parra moved to the U.S. in 2007. He was ordained in 2012 after studying at Mundelein Seminary, according to the Catholic New World newspaper online archives. He served at the Arlington Heights church for about 18 months. Previously, he served as associate pastor of Our Lady of Mercy parish in Chicago.
He has no criminal background.
Palatine and Bartlett police say they recovered a laptop containing files of children engaged in sexual conduct during a search of Vilchez-Parra's Palatine home in February, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Lorna Amado-Chevlin said following Vilchez-Parra's February bond hearing.
There is no evidence that children from either parish are depicted in the videos, prosecutors said.