Former church choir director guilty of lewd acts

By From page A12 | July 18, 2014

FAIRFIELD — The former longtime choir director for the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church was found guilty Wednesday of 25 felony counts of performing lewd acts on a child.

After the jury verdicts, Jim Manuel, who had been out of jail on $120,000 bail throughout his jury trial and since his 2012 arrest, was taken into custody.

During Manuel’s trial, the victim testified she was 15 and a member in Manuel’s church choir group in the summer of 2001 when Manuel began flirting with her and kissed her for the first time one evening at the church. The girl would see Manuel at the church on Sunday mornings, at Thursday night choir practices and at his Fairfield home two or three times a week under the guise of taking piano lessons.

The secret relationship escalated sexually and also included dates for dinners or movies. The victim testified they had sex at the Dover Avenue church and that Manuel also videotaped some of their sexual activities.

The illicit relationship ended in 2005 when the victim, then 19, found out Manuel had been married for three years.

The victim, now 24, testified she went to police in 2012 after she discovered one of her friends had started engaging in phone sex with Manuel.

Judge R. Michael Smith ordered Manuel to return to court Aug. 12 for sentencing.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

Discussion | 10 comments

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  • DumbassesJuly 18, 2014 - 12:06 am

    Soooo she was okay with it until jealousy took over?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MEJuly 18, 2014 - 12:15 am

    Whay is going on,with the catholic church?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Ulises S. GuberJuly 18, 2014 - 12:41 am

    I don't think it was jealousy but that she matured enough to realize others were being victimized and that she had to report this to stop it..

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • 2realJuly 18, 2014 - 5:25 am

    What is goin on with church period!? And dumbasses, i was thinkin the same thing.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJuly 18, 2014 - 7:19 am

    2real, that's your god at work.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • LibertyJuly 18, 2014 - 9:27 am

    Mr. Brooks, leave God out of it. We are a fallen people, and there are folks in church communities who are there for the wrong reasons and do horrible things. Please don't confuse a man's sinful actions with the Creator.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJuly 18, 2014 - 9:37 am

    Liberty, right. How convenient. Darn those bad Christians! ;)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • PornacJuly 18, 2014 - 12:09 pm

    Fun times at the church down the street raping youngsters. God must be so proud of his faithful followers.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JimboJuly 18, 2014 - 4:15 pm

    Catholic Girls by Frank Zappa is playing in my head.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • VickiJuly 21, 2014 - 9:58 pm

    I was on this Jury and after reading this article I am wondering if the writer, Mr. Sullivan was actually paying attention in the court room or checked his story facts. He has the guilty felony count wrong, there were 24 not 25, the age today of the victim is wrong and details about the first kiss are all incorrect . She was 15 in the summer of 2002, not 2001 and if you do the very simple math you can figure out she is older than 24 now. Very disappointing and poorly inaccurate reporting.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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