Expatriate Tyler Priest Arrested, Returns To Face Sex Assault Charges

A former Tyler priest who fled the country after being accused of sexual assault of a child is back in jail Friday night. Forty-year old Gustavo Cuello was arrested earlier this week in Ecuador.

Cuello jumped bond in 1997 after being charged with engaging in sexual intercourse with a child. The child, who was under the age of fourteen at the time, was allegedly one of his parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Tyler.

Prosecutors say the alleged sexual assaults took place before church and choir practice.

Cuello was taken to Miami, Florida, on federal charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. Because of the age of the victim, Cuello faces serious charges.

"His victim was under the age of fourteen when this occurred back in 1996 and 1997," Smith County Prosecutor D. Matt Bingham explains. "That's a first degree felony with a range of punishment of five years to ninety-nine years or life, and up to a ten thousand dollar fine."

Those charges are in addition to the federal charges Cuello may also face. The Smith County Sheriff's Office will return Cuello to Smith County by early next week.

Reid Kerr (rkerr@kltv.com) reporting.