Already facing three charges of lewd and lascivious molestation for incidents involving a 15-year-old and a 12-year-old in his congregation, Rios will now be charged a fourth time, officials said, for inappropriately touching another 15-year-old. Arrested in early April, Rios is the pastor of the Spanish-language evangelical church Casa de Amor.
A spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office said detectives had known about and tried to contact the girl, but in the year since the alleged incident she had left Florida and couldn’t be reached until recently.
At a court hearing Monday, sheriff’s Detective Chris Seaton said the girls told similar stories of being alone with Rios in his office at the church on Windhorst Road. The 12-year-old said there had been multiple times when Rios slapped her behind, kissed her and touched her inappropriately, Seaton said. The first 15-year-old to come forward told the detective that Rios began touching her several years ago, but in 2013, his actions escalated.
Dressed in white, Casa de Amor congregants and members of Rios’ family took up half the courtroom in a show of support for their pastor, who beamed at the gathering from his seat. Bail was set at $150,000.