Members of an Arlington Heights church where a former associate pastor was sentenced to prison in 2017 for distributing child pornography are facing another controversy this week after its current pastor was charged Monday in Miami Beach for what police described as his involvement in a public sex act.

The Rev. Diego Berrio, 39, pastor of Mision San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights, and the Rev. Edwin Giraldo Cortes, 30, an extern priest from Colombia, were arrested in Miami Beach on Sept. 3 after police observed the two men performing oral sex on one another in a parked car, Miami Beach police said.

Both men were charged with lewd and lascivious behavior, a misdemeanor, and Berrio also was charged with indecent exposure, police said.

The alleged sexual act took place around 3:20 p.m. Monday, according to a police report, “in full view of the public passing by on Ocean Drive and the sidewalk.”

Police reports added there is also a playground on the block the car was parked on.

In a statement Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Chicago said both Berrio and Cortes would no longer be able to be priests in the archdiocese.

“Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, has removed Fr. Berrio from ministry and withdrawn his faculties to minister in the Archdiocese of Chicago, effective immediately,” the statement read. “The archdiocese will appoint an administrator for the Mision San Juan Diego as soon as possible.

“It is our responsibility to ensure those who serve our people are fit for ministry,” the statement added. “We take this matter very seriously and will provide updates as they become available.”

Berrio’s dismissal from his duties arrives after the Arlington Heights church’s former associate pastor, Clovis Vilchez-Parra, 36, was sentenced to four years in prison in April of 2017 for distributing child pornography, according to court records.

Vilchez-Parra also was ordered to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to the charge, with numerous other pornography charges dropped in exchange for his plea.

Following his 2015 arrest by police in Palatine, where Vilchez-Parra lived in housing provided by the Archdiocese of Chicago, the archdiocese said in a statement that he was withdrawn from ministry “pending the resolution of this matter.”

Prosecutors said Vilchez-Parra used computer file-sharing software to locate, download and distribute pornographic images of children younger than 13. The computer activity was traced by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, prosecutors said. Authorities obtained a search warrant and found the images on a laptop computer and a flash drive at his residence, prosecutors said.

According to the church’s website, Mision San Juan Diego got its start as the former Santa Teresita mission, which served Spanish-speaking members of community for more than three decades. In 2002, the church moved to its current location — the former Scandinavian Club — at 2323 N. Wilke Road.

On Wednesday, a volunteer tended to the church’s well-manicured grounds, as multi-colored banners fluttered in the breeze — a remnant of a recent fundraiser to support parish programs.

A somber pair of workers who returned to the tidy, red brick church after their lunch hour Wednesday afternoon declined to comment on the incident involving Berrio.

But on the church’s Facebook page, an Archdiocese of Chicago press release posted on Tuesday explaining Berrio’s arrest in Miami Beach and his removal from his duties was followed by several benevolent comments from parishioners, including, “We’re in prayer for them.”

Another post stated, “Eternal Father I ask you right now for all your priests who have fallen. In the clutches of the demon. Defend them and protect them and do not drop them into temptation.”

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