The trial date has been pushed back for a former Catholic priest from Los Banos facing his second child pornography charge in as many years while he and his attorney mull the possibility of settling the case without a trial.
Robert Gamel, once known in the Los Banos community as "Father Bob," was arrested April 12 after authorities found three alleged images of child pornography during a probation check. Gamel has pleaded not guilty.
Those illegal images appeared to be the same photographs that led to Gamel's conviction of the same offense last year, according to probation reports.
On Thursday, Gamel's attorney, Merced County Deputy Public Defender Richard Berger, requested more time before trial, adding that there was a possibility of a settlement before the scheduled trial date set for Nov. 28.
Merced County Deputy District Attorney Travis Colby said any settlement would require Gamel to admit guilt to again possessing child pornography.
Merced County Judge Jeanne Schechter set a readiness conference hearing for Nov. 28 and moved the preliminary trial date to Dec. 19.
Gamel pleaded no contest in March 2016 to a single felony count of child pornography possession and spent six months in jail in Merced County.
The disgraced ex-priest was head of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Los Banos from 2009 to 2014 but was removed from the post after the initial allegations first came to light.
Gamel remains in custody without bail at the Merced County Jail.
Vikaas Shanker: 209-826-3831, ext. 6562