RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — Pastor Geronimo Aguilar, known as Pastor G, has stepped down as President of the Board and as Pastor of the Richmond Outreach Center, according to a statement on the ROC’s website.
This week Aguilar was charged in Texas with seven felony charges that stem from alleged sexual encounters with two minors in the 1990s. [RELATED: ROC Pastor G remains behind bars until extradition to Texas]
According to the statement, Aguilar stepped down to “devote his time and energy to certain legal matters in Texas.”
The statement, signed by the Board of Directors of the Richmond Outreach Center, called the accusations against Aguilar “completely untrue and unfounded.”
The board agreed to give Pastor G a paid leave of absence, and have appointed the Executive team to make decisions on the day-to-day operations.
“The church has been hit hard the last couple of weeks. I think the board made a godly decision,” Essex Village Ministries Senior Pastor Joe Ellison said.
Ellison has been vocal about Pastor G removing himself from this situation.
“This is not an admission of guilt. He just needs to deal with the allegations deal with his family and let the church continue to operate,” said Ellison.
In 2003, Ellison faced similar charges under different circumstances when his 16-year-old god-daughter accused him of sexual battery over a four-year period.
But two years later, the charges against him were dismissed.
“It’s stressful and it’s painful,” said Ellison. “When you go through those kind of charges and that kind of pressure it can weigh heavily on your mind. I understand what Pastor G is going through.”
Pastor Ellison credits the strong support of his family, friends, and months of counseling to help him bounce back.
“You have to know within yourself what you did and what you didn’t do and God will be your final judge. And that’s what I’m hoping and praying for Pastor G,” said Ellison.
According to the ROC’s website, they are actively pursuing an outside, interim Pastor to serve on the Board of Directors, and help with preaching duties and lend to lend spiritual guidance.
CBS spoke with several religious leaders who say they are praying for Pastor G and his family.
“The situations concerning Pastor Aguilar bring me great sadness for all involved. I continue to pray for healing for all who are hurting and for truth,” said Don Coleman, Co-Pastor, East End Fellowship and 7th District Richmond School board member.
Authorities in Texas have made plans to travel to Richmond Friday to pick up Aguilar from Richmond jail.
Depend on CBS 6 News for complete coverage of this important local story.