SILER CITY, N.C. — A North Carolina pastor is accused of sexually assaulting a young member of his congregation, authorities said.
Oscar Vera Jimenez, 53, of Siler City, was arrested Saturday and charged with 10 counts of first-degree kidnapping, 10 counts of indecent liberties with a child, nine counts of sexual battery and five counts of statutory sex offense with a child, WRAL reported. He remains in the Chatham County Detention Center, with bail set at $250,000.
Siler City Police Department spokesperson Lt. Jason Boyd said all of the allegations occurred in December 2020, the Chatham News + Record reported.
“We know 30 from December,” Boyd told the newspaper. “That’s what we know of right now, that we are for sure of. It’s distinctly possible that it has been going on for a while with others.”
Siler City Police Department Detective Jonathan Murray said Wednesday that a woman contacted police with concerns about her daughter, who is a member of Iglesia Pentecostes Espiritu Santos, WRAL reported. Investigators allege that Jimenez, who is the pastor of that church, sexually assaulted the girl several times. Officials did not release details about when or where the alleged assaults occurred.
“Any time you have crimes like this, a person of trust that integrates into our community, especially our youth, it’s significant,” Siler City Police Chief Michael Wagner told the television station.
Jimenez “had access to other juveniles and possible victims,” the police department said in a news release,
“It’s just a mess,” Wagner told the News + Record. “And unfortunately we think there will be more (victims). It’s going to be a long, very challenging process.”