Ex-priest charged with child porn in Merced County. Again.


Just less than 6 months after he was released from jail on a child porn conviction, the former head priest of a Los Banos church faces new charges.

Robert E. Gamel, 67, will be arraigned on Friday on a single felony count of possession of child pornography with a prior conviction.

Gamel was arrested on April 12 following a probation search of his house, according to the Merced County Public Defender’s Office.

Known as "Father Bob," he was the head of the Los Banos Church from 2009 to 2014. In August 2014 allegations came out that he had a nude picture of a teenage parishioner.

The victim's family brought the issue to light when they contacted Catholic Diocese of Fresno, who then alerted the police.

In March 2016, he pleaded no contest to a single felony count of child porn possession and was sentenced to serve 11 months in jail. He avoided a potential 3 year term, but had to register as a sex offender and serve 4 years of probation.

Gamel only spent about 6 months in custody before he was released from jail in December last year.

Teresa Dominguez, chancellor for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, told the Merced Sun Star that Gamel was removed from the ministry:

"From that time forward he began receiving a modest allowance, as the Church remains responsible for his basic human needs. When he was released from custody, the Diocese collaborated with law enforcement to ensure that his residence met the requirements of his probation.”

Read more at the Merced Sun Star.


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