That young girl has since turned nine. She told investigators that several times over the last year her family's pastor at Cento Christiano Vida Nueva sexually assaulted her, and he is now charged with that crime.
There is a photograph of Pastor Romulo Jimenez on the wall of an office in the church he runs with his wife. It was an in office that the young girl says the 67-year-old first assaulted her on a desk. She told investigators it also happened in the parking lot in his car and then in a bathroom. She never told an adult until another parishioner suspected something of the married pastor.
Jimenez is in jail, held on $90,000 bond. Nobody at his home in southwest Houston would come to the door when we knocked.
But court documents reveal that Jimenez's wife in a written statement told investigators her husband acknowledged the abuse, apologized and repented.
The young victim detailed that abuse to counselors at the Children's Assessment Center. Center officials could not speak specifically to this case, but Tammy Hetmeniak did talk about how likely it is that any accused molester has only offended once.
She said, "One of the statistics state that when a sexual perpetrator is accused of a crime, like a child discloses the abuse, they've had or groomed 400 children prior to that."
Hetmeniak added that there is a prevalence of assault cases involving people in positions of authority.
"We teach our children to respect authority, and a lot of times that's the authority of a teacher, a clergyman, a coach, or even just an older adult," she said. "It's very important for parents to control who is involved in their child's life and also make very clear boundaries to that child."
There is another church that shares the same property with Vida Nueva. However, the pastor of that congregation tells me didn't know anything about the accusations and hasn't seen Jimenez in a couple of months.
Jimenez is charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child and is in the Harris County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
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