Local priest must register as a sex offender

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A Catholic priest who worked in Kern County has lost his bid to be removed from the Megan’s Law list of sex offenders.

Father Robert Gamel worked in six Kern County parishes in the last 20 years, but was working in Merced County when he was arrested on child pornography charges in 2014.

He pleaded no contest 2016 to possessing pictures of a 15-year-old boy.

Last year he asked to be removed from the Megan’s Law list under a rule that permits offenders to be removed from that list if their victims were – quote over 16 years old “at the time of the offense.”

Gamel conceded the photos were taken when the boy was 15.

But– he argued–  he was convicted of possessing the pictures two years later – when the boy was 17.

That was the – quote – time of the offense, mentioned in the law, he argued.

The appeals court disagreed.

Justices said it was pretty clear that Gamel had the photos for years before he was caught.

He will be required to register.

The case is Gamel v. California Department of Justice: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/nonpub/F075132.PDF

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