By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A former Catholic priest accused of lewd acts on four boys pleaded not guilty on Friday.

The alleged crimes happened in the mid-1990s and 2001 in Redondo and Palmdale.

(Source: Anthony de Marco)

The former priest, 58-year-old Christopher John Cunningham, was charged on April 2 with 12 felony counts of lewd acts on a child under the age of 14, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

He was an associate pastor at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Palmdale and worked at Saint Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church in Redondo Beach at the time of the alleged crimes.

RELATED: Ex-Catholic Priest Charged With Sexually Assaulting 4 Boys In Palmdale, Redondo Beach

“The victims were innocent children who have spent most of their lives with the trauma caused by the abuse alleged in this case,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement about the charges.

“My office is committed to holding accountable anyone who abuses and takes advantage of our children, especially when they hold a position of trust.”

Cunningham is being held on $2.2 million bail and he’s due back in court on May 12.

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