Maryland Pastor Facing Sexual Assault Charges
Sexual assault is a crime that is becoming more common. The perpetrators of these crimes are sometimes people you would least suspect, such as pastors and other church members.
A pastor in Maryland is facing sexual assault charges after abusing women and possibly other church members. The man is facing multiple criminal charges, including second-degree rape, second-degree assault, and fourth-degree sex offense.
The 37-year-old man from Hyattsville was a pastor at Iglesia Pentecostal El Fin Viene Church, located on New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park. Police began investigating the pastor on June 21 after receiving allegations that he sexually abused two women from the church congregation.
The pastor is accused of offering private prayer and healing sessions to the women. In the two separate incidents—which occurred in September 2020 and July 2021—the man is accused of using “special spiritual oils with healing powers.” He would then sexually abuse the victims.
In one instance, the pastor molested a woman while claiming to be praying for her father. In another incident, a woman contacted the pastor for treatment for an injured ankle. Instead, he sexually abused her, even though she begged him numerous times to stop.
The pastor prohibited the victims from discussing the incidents with anyone. He told them the “sessions” inside the church were confidential.
Law enforcement officials believe the pastor may have other victims. Those who have been abused are urged to contact police. Because Takoma Park is a sanctuary city, detectives are asking victims to come forward, regardless of their immigration status.
Sexual Abuse in the Church
While nobody wants to believe that sexual misconduct happens in the church, it actually happens quite often. Pastors and other church leaders abuse church members at high rates. While women are most likely to be victims, men and children are also at risk.
Unfortunately, sexual abuse in the church is often minimized. Churches tend to ignore allegations of abuse.
However, the church needs to take a stance. It needs to be clear that sexual misconduct is a violation of the trust that members have in the church. Churches need to protect members, not take advantage of them.
Sexual abuse in the church typically starts with the perpetrator grooming the victim. They then encourage dependence on them. The perpetrator then discusses confidential issues with the victim. The perpetrator then starts to introduce sexualized behaviors until the sexual abuse becomes more blatant.
Contact a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Sex crimes can happen to anyone—even members of a church congregation. However, not all victims report the crimes because they are scared or they trust their pastor too much.
If you have been accused of sexual assault, you need an experienced legal advocate on your side. The Columbia sex crime lawyers at Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can help you get a solid defense. Fill out the online form or call (410) 774-5987 to schedule a consultation. We have two offices to serve you.