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Tampa pastor accused of sexually abusing 3 girls under 12, police say

Jesus Manuel Castellano-Mojica, 81, is charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, and two counts of sexual battery, according to the Tampa Police Department.
Jesus Manuel Castellano-Mojica was arrested March 18. He is charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and two counts of sexual battery, all on children under 12 years old, according to the Tampa Police Department.
Jesus Manuel Castellano-Mojica was arrested March 18. He is charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and two counts of sexual battery, all on children under 12 years old, according to the Tampa Police Department. [ Tampa Police Department ]
Published Mar. 22|Updated Mar. 22

TAMPA — An 81-year-old church pastor was arrested Friday after an investigation determined he may have sexually abused three girls under the age of 12, according to the Tampa Police Department.

Jesus Manuel Castellano-Mojica remained in jail Monday on four charges in connection with the alleged abuse — two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and two counts of sexual battery, according to jail records from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

On Feb. 14, the Department of Children and Families received a report that a 7-year-old may have been sexually abused, police said, and the case was assigned to the department’s Special Victims Unit.

During the investigation, detectives found two other girls who may have been sexually abused by Castellano-Mojica, according to a police department news release Monday evening. Two of the girls are 7 years old, while the third person is a 28-year-old woman who was 11 at the time of the abuse, authorities said.

Castellano-Mojica told police he was a pastor at Grace Church of the Nazarene, the release said. According to the establishment’s Facebook page, the church is at 3706 W Wyoming Ave. in Tampa.

Under the “about” section of the page, it says, “Our church could be your church family.” The quote is attributed to “Jesus M. Castellanos.”

A phone call to the number listed on that page went to a voicemail box that was full Monday, so the Times was unable to leave a message.

According to Hillsborough County jail records, Castellano-Mojica is employed at Walmart as a greeter.

His bond is set at $200,000, according to Hillsborough County jail records.

This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.

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