Fr. Jose Carlos Contreras, SDB has spent four years in prison in Mexico for the rape and murder of 16 year old Itzachel Shantal González López, crimes he did not commit. Yesterday the Supreme Court of Mexico, in a 4-1 decision, declared Fr. Jose Carlos innocent of all charges.
The court's decision stated that the priest was convicted without proof that he was the rapist, and called the evidence and accompanying narrative of the overall events presented by prosecutors illogical and beyond the boundaries of common sense.
Today, the feast of the Queenship of Mary, Fr. Jose Carlos will be celebrating a Mass of thanksgiving with his family.
To echo the words of the statement put out by the Salesian Provence of Guadalajara, we have gratitude to God for Father's freedom. It is hard to imagine the hardships that he endured over these years. By all accounts he continued to be a priest for the other prisoners of the jail, giving guidance and consolation at a time he himself was suffering so much. We pray for him as he makes his adjustment back into his regular Salesian life. We pray for all those unjustly convicted, as well as the victims of the drug violence in Mexico, of which this episode appears to be a part.
Most of all we must remember that there is a young girl who will never grow up to be a woman. We continue to pray for Itzachel Shantal González López, for her family, and that justice may be done in her case.