The pastor of a Brandon evangelical Spanish-speaking church was arrested this morning after being accused of molesting three females in the congregation.
Detectives claim the abuse went on for a couple of years.
The 44-year-old is charged with three felony counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. The ages of the alleged victims are 12, 17 and 43.
Deputies claim the 17-year-old said the man touched her inappropriately on approximately 15 different occasions beginning in 2011.
The victim alleges that the man told her he was doing this because he loved her as a pastor and she was not to tell anyone because he could get in trouble.
The 43-year-old claims the man touched her inappropriately in April of 2013. She told deputies that he told her it was a way to cure a medical condition, according to reports.
Reports indicate that the 12-year-old was touched inappropriately by the man two times a week for the past year.
Detectives began investigating the allegations after the three alleged victims learned that the man was behaving inappropriately with all of them.
The pastor has denied all the allegations to investigators.
He is currently being held in the Hillsborough County Jail and is expected to be at a bond hearing Saturday morning.
Sadly, there are circumstances when an adult is wrongfully accused of lewd and lascivious molestation. Law enforcement agents are quick to take the word of children who may have made false allegations in order to gain something from hurting the accused. If you or someone you know has been charged with lewd and lascivious molestation in the Tampa Bay area, a Hillsborough County Sex Crimes Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton can help you through this difficult and confusing time. As soon as you contact us we can immediately assess the situation and recommend the best legal strategy for your defense.
Lewd and lascivious molestation charges should not and cannot be ignored. Regardless of your innocence, these charges will not simply disappear all by themselves. In fact, the prosecution will be determined to obtain a conviction for these types of charges. However, this does not mean your case is hopeless. At Whittel & Melton, our criminal defense lawyers can uncover the facts and mount a powerful defense so that your reputation, job and future are protected. It is best to not delay in seeking legal representation, so please call us today in Tampa at 813-221-3200 or dial us statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529 or you can contact us 24/7 online.