Report: Convicted LA priest had record in Italy

By GILLIAN FLACCUS | June 29, 2011 | 2:30 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clergy abuse victims are protesting outside the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles after learning that a visiting priest convicted of molestation had a prior criminal case in Italy.

Dan Rather reported Tuesday on cable channel HDNet that the Rev. Fernando Lopez pleaded guilty in 2000 to "repeated sexual violence on a minor" in Italy before coming to the United States.

Lopez worked in a Los Angeles parish for three years and was convicted on multiple molestation-related counts in 2005 after authorities say he abused three boys in that parish.

An attorney for one of the boys says the nearby Diocese of San Bernardino refused to hire Lopez because of questions about his past and warned the Los Angeles archdiocese about him in 2004.

Archdiocese attorney Michael Hennigan didn't immediately return a call for comment Wednesday.