The Rev. Luis Jose Cuevas, the former parish priest at St. Athanasius Catholic Church, 5390 Linden Ave., was formally charged earlier this year with nine counts of sexual assault following accusations from three alleged victims.
Cuevas' attorney, George Bird, repeatedly denied the allegations at his client's arraignment in July, noting the massive community support for the 67-year-old priest demonstrated by nearly 100 members of the church who came to the courthouse that day.
"People who know Father Cuevas know what's in his heart," Bird said gesturing at the crowd of parishioners.
The crowds were noticeably absent Tuesday when Cuevas pleaded to three of the nine counts, one related to each victim.
He was allowed to remain out of custody on bail and is scheduled to be sentenced at the Long Beach Superior Court on Jan. 23.
The case came to light in April, police said, when two women accused Cuevas of sexual battery, initially reporting the incidents to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles before filing a police report.
When an announcement was made at St. Athanasius that Cuevas was being investigated and other possible victims were urged to come forward, a 17-year-old girl contacted authorities and accused Cuevas of repeated incidents of inappropriate touching dating back to when she was 14, police and prosecutors said.
The original charge included nine counts: Eight misdemeanor sexual battery counts, and one felony count of lewd acts on a minor under the age of 16.
The prosecutor noted there were at least 16 additional allegations of past sexual abuse that could not be filed due to the statute of limitations.