PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) - A Pasco County pastor is accused of raping a teenage parishioner at several locations in Pasco and Pinellas counties.
Detectives say he had sex with the girl on multiple occasions without her consent after telling her she suffered from multiple personalities and that one of the personalities was possessed by a demon.
"People put their trust in someone like a pastor," said Pasco County Sgt. Jason Hatcher.
Detectives say Gerardo Martinez, 52, is the pastor of the Miracle Christian Church, located at 5724 State Road 54.
He's referred to as "Jerry" on the church website.
Investigators say Martinez gained the trust of the 17-year-old victim's parents so he could have the victim be alone with him at the church so he could "pray for her."
Detectives say Martinez had sex with the girl in the back room of the church, at her home and in the parking lot of a Publix grocery store at 1346 Seven Springs Blvd. in New Port Richey.
Deputies say the sex acts went on last year from April to October. They say the girl's mother reported the accusations to a police agency in Pinellas County last December.
Pastor Richard Hubbartt was caught off guard by the accusations.
He says Martinez's congregation rents his church for Sunday services.
"If it's true, then we'll be very concerned and probably reconsider our space," Hubbartt said.
According to the church website, Martinez went to prison for drugs and it goes on to state that, "God gave Pastor Jerry a glimpse into the supernatural that caused him to study the Bible."
Detectives say many witnesses saw things that made them uncomfortable but no one reported it.
A witness told deputies they saw the two of them sitting very close together and said they would move away from each other when anyone saw them. After the witness saw the two together, Martinez called the witness and said that the girl was possessed by a demon in one of her personalities.
A witness reported seeing the teenager walk from her home and get into a car driven by Martinez. The witness said this happened on multiple occasions.
Martinez allegedly told detectives that he visited the girl at her residence when her parents were not there to help her walk her dog, but he did not go inside.
Investigators say he changed his story several times while being questioned before deciding to not answer any more questions.
Detectives say Martinez's wife did not know he had been visiting the teenager at her home.
Pasco deputies arrested Martinez on two counts of sexual battery Friday. He has since been released from jail.
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