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Priest approached a panhandler at church. She lifted her skirt and called him ‘Satan,’ Arizona cops say

A woman panhandling with her children outside a Phoenix, Arizona, church exposed herself to a priest who offered her help, called him satan and tried groping him, according to police. The woman faces sexual abuse and indecent exposure charges.
A woman panhandling with her children outside a Phoenix, Arizona, church exposed herself to a priest who offered her help, called him satan and tried groping him, according to police. The woman faces sexual abuse and indecent exposure charges. Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

An Arizona woman “aggressively panhandling” outside a Phoenix church hassled a priest, called him names and refused multiple offers for help, according to police.

But it’s the alleged indecent exposure and sexual abuse she inflicted on the priest that got 45-year-old Stela Dinu arrested this month, a police report obtained by KTVK said.

Dinu and “multiple small children” were asking for money outside Saint Theresa Catholic Church on April 15 before a service, the police report said. The priest went out to offer Dinu and the children help — and to say they couldn’t panhandle on church property — but Dinu wouldn’t accept his help, ABC 15 reports.

Dinu then left the church grounds, police said.

She wasn’t gone long, though. After the next service, Dinu and her children were again asking for money outside the church, according to the police report. Parishioners told the priest what was going on, and the priest again offered to help them. Once again, he “explained they could not panhandle on church grounds,” the police report said.

At that point, Dinu and one of her children, a 13-year-old boy, started to get “verbally aggressive” with the priest. The boy challenged the priest to a fight. Dinu called the priest “Satan,” police said.

The priest called 911, and Dinu began to walk off with her son. While speaking to dispatchers, the priest tailed Dinu at a distance as they walked down a street, according to the police report.

That’s when Dinu gave the priest an eyeful: She turned to him and exposed herself by pulling down her skirt — asking him “if that was what he wanted,” according to the police report. The priest told dispatchers that Dinu was exposing herself, and Dinu got closer and closer to him. Then Dinu tried to grope the priest, but was only able to brush up against his clothing, KTVK reports.

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Moments later Dinu and her son fled for good, according to police. Before she drove off, a witness caught her license plate number.

The priest was able to pick Dinu out of a lineup, the police report said. When Dinu spoke to police, she admitted she had gotten “upset” with the priest for telling her to leave the church grounds. She also admitted to exposing herself, though she said she didn’t remember trying to grope the priest.

Surveillance video from a business captured part of Dinu’s interaction with the priest, police said. In the footage, Dinu can be seen “thrusting her hips towards” the priest, according to the police report. She also “swung her arm at him.” Police said the video supported to priest’s version of events and not Dinu’s.

Police arrested Dinu on June 13 in nearby Glendale, ABC 15 reports. She faces sexual abuse and indecent exposure charges.

Dinu’s next court appearance is scheduled for next week, according to KTVK.

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