One way or another, there’s definitely evil afoot.
Sheriff’s deputies in Florida have charged a Pasco County preacher with two counts of sexual battery after a 17-year-old girl told them he had sex with her after telling her she had “multiple personalities.”
And that one of those personalities was “possessed by demon,” the Tampa Tribune reported.
The Rev. Gerardo Martinez, pastor of Miracle Christian Church in New Port Richey, was free on $100,000 bail Wednesday after his arrest last week in connection with the charges, the Tribune reported.
The abuse allegedly began after the girl’s parents brought her to the church in April 2017. The incidents occurred in Martinez’s vehicle, at the church and the girl’s home in Tarpon Springs, the Tribune reported.
According to WTVT, Fox 13, at least one incident even occurred in a Publix grocery store parking lot.
They allegedly continued into October. The girl reported the incidents in December.
The 52-year-old Martinez, who is married with three children, according to the church’s website, has denied the charges.
But according to the Pasco sheriff’s office, the girl’s account was convincing.
“It’s pretty heinous. It is graphic the way everything happened,” Pasco Sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Hatcher told WTVT.
Detectives also interviewed witnesses who reported seeing the two together.
Recounting part of the arrest report, the Tribune noted:
“One witness said Martinez called him and explained ‘why they were so close,’ the report said, because she was ‘possessed by a demon.’”
Martinez’s account, however, varied, the Tribune reported:
“When detectives spoke to Martinez, they said he told them different stories, such as denying driving the girl home then saying he drove her part way; saying he went to her home to help walk the dog but did not go inside; then saying he went inside.”
There’s no way of knowing at the moment what the truth of the story is. Sexual assault is a grave crime, and deserves grave punishment.
Martinez could well be innocent, and under the American citizen of justice – thank God – he deserves that presumption.
But when a clergyman is accused of sexually assaulting a troubled young girl whose parents have entrusted to his care, it doesn’t look good.
And there’s no way around the fact that when that clergyman’s story changes numerous times when he’s being questioned by criminal investigators, it looks even worse.
So, either a man of the cloth abused his position, and the trust of his flock, to take “graphic” advantage of a girl, or an upstanding cleric is being wrongfully accused of one of the worst crimes a man can commit short of murder.
But one way or another, there’s evil afoot.
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