A San Rafael priest was arrested on allegations he exposed himself to an undercover investigator during a crackdown on lewd behavior at China Camp State Park, a state parks ranger said Friday.
The Rev. Feliciano Torres Mofan, 58, was booked into Marin County Jail on suspicion of indecent exposure, soliciting a lewd act and nudity in a state park. He remained in custody Friday night in lieu of $2,500 bail.
The arrest occurred during a sting operation targeting lewd conduct in the park, said Supervising Ranger Ryen Goering. He said rangers have recently received a spike of reports about sexual activity in public, found Internet postings seeking sexual meetups in the park and cleaned up condoms, clothes and waste left on the grounds.
On Thursday evening, a plainclothes ranger was walking at Chicken Coop Hill, in the shoreline area off North San Pedro Road, when a man approached and propositioned him for sex, Goering said. Then the man allegedly exposed himself to the ranger.
The undercover ranger and another ranger nearby arrested the suspect and identified him as Mofan. When asked for his occupation at the jail, Mofan identified himself as a priest.
Mofan is listed as "priest in residence" at the Church of St. Isabella in Terra Linda, one of 91 parishes in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. St. Isabella officials said priests in residence are retired priests who choose to live in a rectory, and that Mofan recites Masses but does not Advertisement teach at the parish schools.
In a statement Friday, the archdiocese said Mofan has been on "reduced ministry" since January 1999, when he suffered a stroke.
"The allegations, which do not involve a minor, come as a surprise to us," the archdiocese said. "The Archdiocese has never been aware of any type of illegal behavior, prior to these charges, by Father Mofan.
"Pending resolution of the legal process and our own investigation, he has been placed on a leave of absence." The district attorney's office was still reviewing the case Friday to decide whether to file charges, said prosecutor Leon Kousharian. An arraignment was tentatively set for Monday in Marin Superior Court.
The undercover operation at China Camp was the first in the park's crackdown on lewdness, Goering said.
"Our goal is, the park should be a safe place for the public to enjoy," he said.
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