L.A. County’s New Sheriff Celebrates Christmas Mass With Inmates at Men’s Central Jail

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Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, center, and L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, fourth from right, greet inmates after a Christmas Mass at Men's Central Jail on Dec. 25, 2018. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, center, and L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, fourth from right, greet inmates after a Christmas Mass at Men’s Central Jail on Dec. 25, 2018. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

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On Christmas Day, the front pew of the jail chapel was empty — reserved for Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and his entourage.

But when Villanueva arrived, he chose a spot near the back. The VIP pew eventually was filled by some of the nearly 200 inmates who had gathered to celebrate Mass with the archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose H. Gomez, at Men’s Central Jail.

The novel seating arrangement was another sign that Villanueva intends to do things differently.

Since shocking the local political establishment by winning election over incumbent Sheriff Jim McDonnell in November, Villanueva has fired the department’s top brass and required hundreds of others to reapply for their jobs.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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