A Texas pastor, Gerardo Gonzalez, has been arrested on charges of indecent assault and sexual assault. He is accused of groping at least four female attendees during one-on-one prayer sessions at his church, Despertar Ministries, held in the Wyndham Hotel in McAllen.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Gonzalez allegedly positioned himself and the individuals he was praying with behind a podium to conceal their lower bodies from view and touched them inappropriately during prayers. He admitted to moving the podium and placing his hands on attendees’ hands, shoulders, heads, or necks. His wife, who he claimed was present during these prayers, contradicted his account, stating that she was not always by his side and was sometimes distracted by other attendees.
Additional charges of sexual assault stem from incidents at Gonzalez’s home and church. He is currently in custody with a bond set at $400,000. Despertar Ministries did not respond to requests for comment.
The Roys Report writes:
Police have arrested a Texas pastor for allegedly groping at least four female attendees during one-on-one prayer at his church.
According to Hidalgo County Jail records, Gerardo Gonzalez was arrested by police in McAllen, Texas, on September 7 and charged with four counts of indecent assault. Two days later, he was arrested on two additional counts of sexual assault by police in nearby Mission, Texas.
The September 7 charges stem from allegations by several women who say Gonzales assaulted them during one-on-one prayer during, or after, church services at Despertar Ministries. Despertar is a church service Gonzalez leads weekly in the ballroom of the Wyndham Hotel in McAllen.
According to a probable cause affidavit, one woman told police that on August 20, Gonzalez called her to the podium for “one-on-one prayer.” Gonzalez then reportedly stood in front of her, placing his right hand on her shoulder and his left hand by her genital area.
According to the affidavit, the woman said Gonzalez had a habit of moving the podium to the side. Then he would put himself and the person he was praying with behind the podium, so no one else could see their lower bodies, the woman said.
The document said a detective spoke with Gonzalez, who admitted moving the podium to the side and standing close to attendees during their one-on-one prayers. He also admitted placing his hands on their hands, shoulders, head, or back of their necks.
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