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Accusations Mount Against California Priests

An arrest and two lawsuits Tuesday in connection with sex-abuse allegations against Catholic priests in California.

Fontana police allege the Reverend Honesto Bismonte repeatedly fondled two sisters, now 13 and 17, over a four-year period beginning in 1997. Bismonte, an associate pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Pomona, was arrested at his home and booked for investigation of continuous sexual abuse of a minor.

Also Tuesday, two men sued the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento. One alleges a priest in Saint Dominic´s Church in Benicia molested him in 1981; the other alleges he was molested in the early 1970s at Sacramento´s Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The priest accused in the first case, the Reverend Jerome Henson, was serving in an Orange County church before being placed on leave after the allegations were first reported. The priest in the second case, the Reverend Mario Blanco, no longer works for the Sacramento diocese.