NEW PORT RICHEY — A 52-year-old church pastor was arrested Friday on two counts of sexual battery with custodial authority after Pasco sheriff's deputies said he assaulted a 17-year-old girl who he said was "possessed by a demon."
Gerardo Martinez, pastor of Miracle Christian Church, was released from the Pasco County jail on Saturday after posting $100,000 bail, records show.
The girl was not identified by deputies because of the nature of the allegations. She met Martinez in April 2017 when her parents brought her to the church at 5724 State Road 54, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. The pastor told her she had "multiple personalities" and one was "possessed by a demon," according to the arrest report.
"In doing so the defendant gained the trust of the victim's parents," the report said, so that they would leave her at church, allow her to travel with him and even enter her home when she was alone.
Martinez is accused of sexually battering the girl multiple times from April to October, deputies said, in incidents that took place in his vehicle, at the church and at her home in Tarpon Springs.
The girl contacted the Sheriff's Office about the allegations on Dec. 12. Detectives later found witnesses who saw the pastor and girl together. One witness said Martinez called him and explained "why they were so close," the report said, because she was "possessed by a demon."
When detectives spoke to Martinez, they said he told them different stories, such as denying driving the girl home then saying he drove her part way; saying he went to her home to help walk the dog but did not go inside; then saying he went inside.
Martinez "denied the allegations," the report said, while her story "remained consistent."
The church's website said he is married with three children.
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