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New Bedford, Massachusetts - Iglesia de Jesucristo Pastor Elmer Perez Charged with Raping Parishioner, More Victims Suspected

Iglesia de Jesucristo in New Bedford
Published: December 27, 2019
By: Joe LaFrance
Last Updated on December 14, 2020

Pastor Elmer Perez Suspected of Sexually Assaulting Several Parishioners at Iglesia de Jesucristo

44-year-old pastor Elmer Perez has been arrested and charged with kidnapping and raping a woman who attended his church, Iglesia de Jesucristo in New Bedford. Perez faces charges of rape, kidnapping, intimidation of a witness, indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14, and threatening to commit a crime. Police also suspect that there are other victims.

Perez appeared in court on Thursday, December 26. A judge found him dangerous and ordered him held without bail for up to 120 days while awaiting trial. During this hearing, prosecutor Zac Mercer told the court that a witness said five women have come forward to him with allegations of sexual assault against Perez. One of these five women is pregnant.

According to the prosecution, Perez met the victim at a market and brought her to his church at 1411 Acushnet Ave in New Bedford. He is accused of sexually assaulting her here. The prosecutor told the court that Perez used "force throughout their interactions" and violated his position of trust while exhibiting "predator behavior."

This alleged sexual assault happened on October 10 and was reported on November 20.

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Justice for Victims of Sexual Assault by Pastors and Other Church Leaders

Attorney contributor Kim Dougherty is proud to stand by victims and their families and helps them fight for justice in civil lawsuits. Here are some of her thoughts on the legal rights of those who have been sexually assaulted by pastors and other religious clergy members:

Pastors and other church leaders are highly trusted members of their communities. Most of these individuals are trustworthy, but there is also a risk of abuse in any field that involves working from a position of trust. Sadly, our attorneys have seen many cases of religious leaders sexually abusing parishioners.

Churches and other religious organizations have a legal duty to protect their followers from preventable harm, including sexual abuse. When a clergy member is arrested for sexually abusing parishioners, both the clergy member and the church should be investigated. The clergy member will be the subject of a criminal investigation, while attorneys can also investigate the church to determine if negligence was a factor in the abuse.

If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by a pastor or another religious clergy member, you can learn more about your legal rights in a free consultation with one of our experienced sex abuse victims lawyers.


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About the Author
Joe LaFrance
About Joe LaFrance
Editor: Joe is a content writer with a focus on the legal field. He covers cases of sexual abuse, drunk driving, and preventable violent crime for the Legal Herald. Contact Joe: [email protected] This article was fact checked prior to publishing by this author to ensure compliance with our rigorous editorial standards. We will only use authoritative sources. Our values compel us to provide only trustworthy information. If you find an error, please contact us.
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