Massachusetts Pastor Arrested On Rape, Kidnapping Charges
The pastor of Iglesia De Jesucristo Church in New Bedford, Massachusetts, was arrested last week on charges of rape and kidnapping, according to local news station ABC 6.
Elmer Perez, 44, is currently being held without bail and faces charges including rape, witness intimidation, kidnapping, indecent assault/battery, and threatening to commit a crime.
Prosecutors allege that Perez “lured his victim from a market on October 10th and convinced her to go back to the church,” where he subsequently raped her and locked her in a room.
"This defendant makes statements, disrobes himself, starts forcing himself upon this victim," Assistant District Attorney Zach Mercer said during a hearing at New Bedford District Court.
ABC 6 said the details of the incident were so graphic that prosecutors have not released further details to the media.
Mercer also said a church elder said there could be more victims and indicated that Perez targeted undocumented immigrants knowing they would be less likely to come forward.
“This individual states that as many as five women have come forward to him stating that this defendant has sexually assaulted them in the past, one of whom states that she believes she’s pregnant from a sexual assault from this defendant.”
The assistant district attorney added: “These individuals are afraid to come forward because they have immigration consequences, and I’d argue that that’s what makes the population that this defendant has been targeting an easy target for him.”