A pastor at a church in Norwalk has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing more than 20 female parishioners, many of them Spanish-speaking immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
Jorge Juan Castro, a 53-year-old associate pastor at Las Buenas Nuevas Church, was arrested Sept. 13 at his home in Norwalk and booked on a warrant alleging rape, penetration by a foreign object and oral copulation.
In the period from October 2004 through September 2012, women at the church were victims of sexual assaults, according to the
Castro allegedly preyed on the women's "vulnerability" by threatening to have them deported if they reported him, according to the Sheriff's Department. He also allegedly threatened to "expose the victims to public embarrassment and ridicule," the department reported.
Officials said the women, ranging in age from 18 to 39, told a third party about the alleged crimes, who then contacted detectives in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Special Victims Bureau.