East Bay Times has reported multiple charges against the longtime pastor at Restoration Agape Church located at 21871 Richard St, Perris, CA 92570.
On March 24, 2022, 48-year-old Giovanny Cruz Aguilar was arrested amid suspicions that included kidnapping, false imprisonment and forcible rape. Investigations have now led to the pastor being charged with kidnapping in addition to the two counts of sexual assault. The abuse was said to have occurred outside of the church property during outreach events.
Aguilar has worked as the Restoration Agape Church Ministry pastor, associated with the Restoration Agape Retreat Center. Detectives believe there may be additional victims and urge anyone to come forward if they feel they were victimized by Aguilar.
Attorney contributor Bobby Thompson is an experienced lawyer for sexual abuse in a religious organization licensed in California. Bobby helps victims of sexual abuse seek justice through civil lawsuits. He recently discussed when a victim can sue for being sexually assaulted by a pastor.
"Sexual abuse is becoming too common in religious organizations across the country. This frequently occurs when sexual predators are allowed to take positions within the church due to a lack of preventative measures. With so many religious leaders, such as priests and pastors, being accused of sexually abusing victims, it is critical that churches maintain security within their clergy. Conducting background checks and addressing any accusations of misconduct are just a couple of examples of preventative actions."
"Protecting their community against preventable danger, like sexual assault, is a legal and moral obligation that both leaders and members of the religious organization must take seriously. Sexual assault situations frequently occur as a result of the religious organization's negligence. Often, other clergy members fail to report known instances that could have prevented further abuse. Victims and their families have the legal right to sue a religious institution if the organization is determined to be negligent. Victims of church sexual assault are encouraged to seek legal advice from a lawyer who has dealt with cases of sexual abuse in religious organizations in order to get the justice they rightfully deserve."