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Priest Acquitted Of Rape Charges

A Roman Catholic priest was acquitted Friday in Kings Superior Court on charges that he raped a 16-year-old girl who worked at his church. Thirty-four-year-old Miguel Flores was cleared of three counts of forcible rape, three counts of sex with a minor and single charges of making threats and intimidating a witness. After the jury left the courtroom, the priest said he thanked the jury and thanked God. He said he planned to celebrate and pray. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno said Flores could return to active ministry next year. Flores, who was greeted by hugs from supporters, said he forgave his accusers. Prosecutors said they were satisfied that the facts in the case had been aired.