Norwalk pastor violated 20-plus women using ‘healing hands,’ cops say
An associate pastor at a church in Norwalk arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting more than 20 female parishioners allegedly told his victims the sex acts were a necessary part of using “healing hands.”
Jorge Juan Castro, 53, was arrested last Friday on allegations that during his eight years as associate pastor at Las Buenas Nuevas Church in Norwalk, he repeatedly sexually assaulted at least 20 parishioners. He told the alleged victims who questioned the sex acts that they were part of the faith-healing process, said L.A. County Sheriff’s Capt. Robert Esson.
Castro also allegedly threatened to have the women — who ranged in age from 18 to 39 — deported if they spoke out, Esson added.
Esson said the alleged crimes stretch from October 2004 to September 2012. Detectives in the Special Victims Unit began investigating Castro April 8 when a person who many of the alleged victims had confided in informed authorities and convinced some to speak to detectives.
Detectives know of some 20 victims in the mostly Spanish-speaking congregation had allegedly been assaulted by the pastor. Several victims provided evidence to detectives and their allegations led to the charges, said sheriff’s Sgt. Al Garcia.
Church leaders removed Castro from the church upon learning of the investigation, Esson said.
“The church and the senior pastor here worked with us. … We’ve been to services and spoken [to the parishioners]. We assured everyone they need not be concerned about deportation,” Esson said. “This is about this pastor’s crimes.”
After surveillance by undercover major-crimes detectives, Castro was arrested Sept. 13 at his home in Norwalk and booked on charges of rape, penetration by a foreign object and oral copulation. He is already charged with six felony counts, but that number is expected to rise.