TAKOMA PARK, Md. — Police say a pastor of a Takoma Park church has been arrested and faces multiple charges, including rape.
According to Takoma Park Police, 37-year-old Erick Odir Vidal Fuentes of Hyattsville, allegedly sexually assaulted two female members of the church.
Police first began investigating Fuentes, the pastor at Iglesia Pentecostal El Fin Viene Church located in the 7500 block of New Hampshire Avenue, on June 21.
Takoma Park Police Chief Antonio DeVaul, Fuentes faces charges including second-degree rape, fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault.
According to court documents, Fuentes is accused of offering private prayer and healing sessions at the church with the women in separate incidents.
In both cases, one in September of 2020 and another in July 2021, Fuentes is accused of using “special spiritual oils with healing powers" to begin touching victims, according to court records.
In one case investigators say he claimed to be praying for a woman’s father while allegedly molesting her. In another case, police said a victim who sought treatment for an injured ankle, was instead allegedly touched sexually even as she protested over and over for him to stop.
Fuentes told the victims the sessions inside the storefront church were confidential and warned them to not discuss the details, according to investigators.
“After talking to these victims and interviewing Mr. Fuentes, we believe that there may be other victims out there," said Detective Charles Earle of the Takoma Park Police. "People have confidence and trusted him. We believe that's a big part of how these people were targeted and victimized."
Police ask anyone who believes they were a victim or has information about the alleged sexual assaults to call Det. Earle at 240-298-5500. If you only speak Spanish, contact the department's Victim/Witness Coordinator, Claudia Tolson, at 240-610-8284.
At a press conference Friday, police reminded the community that Takoma Park is a sanctuary city, and urged any victims to come forward regardless of immigration status.
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