"Presumed Guilty"
SVU, Episode 14.10
Production number: 14011
First aired: 2 January 2013
  th of 432 produced in SVU  
th of 432 released in SVU
  th of 1185 released in all  
Written By
Kevin Fox

Directed By
Courtney Hunt

Detective Tutuola gets entangled in a church scandal when his ex-brother-in-law is arrested for the brutal attack of a priest, just days before Christmas.


The SVU's holiday celebrations are disrupted when Detective Tutuola's ex-brother-in-law is arrested for assaulting a priest. Convinced of his innocence despite his criminal record, Fin asks the detectives to find evidence that exonerates him, and in the process, a buried church scandal begins to unravel.


It's Christmas time in New York and it is shown that there is a Christmas party at a church.

Outside the church, a little girl named Sofia meets with her priest Father Chris Shea to give him a Christmas card. Sofia gets in Father Shea's car to give him the card, but someone smashes his car window. While Sofia is able to get away, Father Shea is assaulted by an unknown person.

When the police arrive, they find a beaten & bloody man who claims that he was trying to rescue Father Shea. As the man is arrested by the police, he tells the officers his brother-in-law is a cop.

Back at the station during the SVU Christmas party, Fin's ex-wife, Teresa interrupts to tell him that her brother has been arrested. Initially, Fin is not surprised due to his history of criminal activity, but Teresa assures him that her brother has changed & Fin agrees to check it out.

Fin and Rollins meet with Fin's ex-brother-in-law, Sam, who claims that he was rescuing the priest from attackers before the bystanders found them. Father Shea is still unconscious, so Fin and Rollins decide to track down the only witness: the little girl, Sofia.

Fin, Rollins, Benson and Amaro head to the scene of the crime. Inside of Father Shea's car, they find Sophia's Christmas card. Fin is still reluctant to believe Sam's story, but Olivia spots a CCTV camera nearby that may provide some clues.

The camera didn't catch the assault, but the detectives see Father Shea, Sophia and two unidentified men approaching the car. Benson and Rollins try to get Sam out of jail before Christmas while Fin and Amaro head to the hospital to speak to the priest, who has just woken up.

The priest, Father Shea, tells Fin that Sam saved him from two unidentified muggers. He provides information about Sofia. The detectives head out to find Sophia, but unfortunately, Sam's judge decides to keep him in jail over Christmas.

Benson and Amaro head to Father Shea's old church to speak with Margarita, a church employee and Sofia's mother. Amaro explains that Father Shea's attackers thought he was being inappropriate with Sophia, but Margarita defends Father Shea.

The detectives speak to Sofia who tells them that she saw two Spanish-speaking men attacking Father Shea and that Sam was trying to save him. Meanwhile, Fin and Amaro meet with M.E. Warner, who found fingerprints on Father Shea's car.

Fin and Rollins track down Adam Benitez, who is working as a Salvation Army Santa. Adam tries to run away, but Rollins is able to tackle him on the street. In the interrogation room, Adam says that he and a friend saw Father Shea hugging a girl in his car, but the assault was his friend's idea. Eventually, Adam gives up his friend's name: Enrique Rodriguez.

When Fin and Rollins make an arrest, Enrique expresses resentment at the police for arresting him instead of a pedophile priest. Benson and Amaro return to the hospital to find Father Shea speaking with his superior, who has just given him a plane ticket out of the country which raises suspicion.

The detectives decide to get recorded statements from all of their suspects and witnesses in order to ensure that Sam will be released before Christmas.

Later, Benson and Amaro interrogate Enrique who wants to tell them about how Father Shea molested his sister ten years ago. Enrique claims that Father Shea impregnated his sister Angelica when she was 13 years old and forced her to have an abortion.

Benson says that they'll need Angelica to corroborate his story. Enrique says that his sister is a mess, but they should ask Father Shea about it.

Meanwhile, the ADA tells Fin that he refuses to release Sam before Christmas. He says he'll need Father Shea to identify the attackers before he can release him.

Reluctantly, Father Shea agrees to participate in a line-up and is able to identify Enrique as his assailant. Olivia questions Father Shea about Angelica, but he denies the allegations.

Fin and Rollins track down Enrique's sister, Angelica to question her about her involvement with Father Shea ten years prior, but Angelica explains that Father Shea didn't molest her. Instead, Father Shea helped her after someone else molested her, but she refuses to tell the detectives who did.

The detectives return to the home of Sofia. They confirm Nick's belief, from Margarita, that Father Shea is Sofia's biological father. Later, Father Shea tells Olivia and Amaro that his fellow priest had been assaulting girls, it is revealed to be Monsignor Menendez.

Angelica visits Enrique in jail to inform him that Father Shea was not the culprit and that he beat up the wrong priest. Enrique feels remorse for his mistake, but he is unable to go free just because he assaulted the wrong priest. Fin rushes to the judge's house to ask for a conditional release for Sam so that he can spend Christmas with his son. The judge agrees to sign the papers and Fin is able to take Sam home. Amaro convinces Olivia to take off early for vacation while he heads back to the church to arrest Monsignor Menendez.

While Olivia is on a plane to the Bahamas with a mystery man (presumably Brian Cassidy), Amaro calls to inform her that he's arresting Monsignor Menendez, but before he can arrest him, Angelica shoots & kills Monsignor Menendez.


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast


Episode references


Fin: (to Olivia) Look, Liv, I appreciate the help, but I divorced into this. No need to drag you into it.
Olivia: Screw you, Fin. I'm all yours till Christmas Eve. After that, you're on your own.

Background information and Notes

  • Olivia Benson appears to be dating again. She's going to the Bahamas with an unknown man and they were holding hands on the plane. The identity of the man isn't revealed, but it's likely that it's Brian Cassidy (with whom she had an one-night stand in the first season) because the two were kissing in Season 14's premiere.
1 2 3 4

55th Precinct
4295 Broadway
Saturday, December 22

Payson Avenue
Inwood, Manhattan
Sunday, December 23

Superior Court
Sunday, December 23

Arraignment Court
Part 12
Sunday, December 23

5 6 7 8

St. Horatio's Church
171 Sherman Avenue
Inwood, Manhattan
Sunday, December 23

125th Street &
Lennox Avenue
Harlem, New York
Sunday, December 23

St. Horatio's Church
171 Sherman Avenue
Inwood, Manhattan
Monday, December 24

Home of
Judge Peter Harrison
559 4th Street
Brooklyn, New York
Monday, December 24

Previous episode:
"Dreams Deferred"
"Presumed Guilty"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 14
Next episode:
"Beautiful Frame"
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