Visalia priest removed from church after threats

VISALIA, Calif.

Both the Catholic Church of Visalia and the Visalia Police Department have confirmed Father Carlos Serrano did receive threats.

Neither organization is releasing much information, but both believe the priest's safety is in jeopardy.

The report of threats to Father Carlos Serrano were reported to the Visalia Police Department the first week in February. But it wasn't until this past weekend that parishioners at all three Visalia Catholic churches heard the news.

Long time parishioner Soccoro Fernandez says she heard for the first time Sunday morning Father Carlos wouldn't be coming back

Fernandez says they asked the people to pray for Fr. Carlos and that they were moving him to another church. They were told he had been threatened, but there was no explanation.

"The Catholic Church of Visalia would not say what the nature of the threat was, but they say they are taking it very seriously. In fact, they wouldn't even give us a picture of father Carlos Serrano saying his life is in danger," Fernandez said.

A deacon at the church office told Action News that Fr. Carlos is still working as a priest, but in a safer location.

Visalia police Sergeant Amy Watkins says Fr. Carlos did nothing wrong and is absolutely the victim in this case. She would not say whether the threats came from within the church or outside, or whether the threats were made in person or through email or letter or by phone

"The crime of criminal threats, which is what this report was taken as, is a violent crime category, so that's why it's being investigated by our violent crimes unit," Sgt. Watkins said.

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