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Gaithersburg pastor accused of raping girl, police say

The pastor brought the girl to a room in the church that had a bed, told the girl the two would sleep there and attempted to rape her that night, police said.
Credit: Montgomery County Police Dept.
Octavio Cantarero

GAITHERSBURG, Md. — A pastor at a Gaithersburg church was arrested and charged in the attempted rape of a young girl.

Montgomery County police arrested 42-year-old Octavio Cantarero and charged him with a number of sexual offenses including fourth-degree sexual offense (sexual contact) and attempted second-degree rape, against a minor. Authorities say the young girl was a member of Cantarero's church, the Iglesia Pentecostal Principe De Paz. 

The investigation began in May when the girl reported the incidents to police. Detectives said it all began in January when the victim met Cantarero and he told her she was too young to live alone. From there he provided her with a room at the church to use. 

On Jan. 16, police said the pastor took the girl to a room in the church with a bed and told her they would both sleep there. During the night, the girl told police she woke up to Cantarero trying to rape her. 

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Police said Cantarero told her not to tell anyone and said he would help her pay for clothes, rent and school. He also said her demons provoked him, according to a police report. 

Authorities issued a warrant for Cantarero’s arrest on Sept. 16 and he turned himself into detectives on Saturday. He was taken to the Central Processing Unit and is being held without bond.

RELATED: Man who sexually abused minor while she was having dental surgery sentenced to prison

Police are asking anyone who believes that he/she was victimized by Octavio Cantarero or anyone who believes that his/her child was victimized by him to please call them at 240-773-5400.

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