(WTVR) — A Fort Worth pastor says he was not aware of the sexual misconduct that allegedly took place in his church involving former ROC pastor Geronimo Aguilar.
Aguilar is accused of sexually abusing two young sisters in the mid 1990’s in Texas.
Before founding the Richmond Outreach Center in 2003, Aguilar was an outreach and youth minister for roughly a year at New Beginnings International Church in Fort Worth, Texas.
Court documents obtained by the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth say that Aguilar was asked to leave New Beginnings after a church member caught him kissing one of the girls, but the church’s senior pastor says it was a difference in theological beliefs, not sex abuse, that led to Aguilar’s departure.
Pastor Don Couch tells CBS 6, “I had no knowledge of that at all. If I had any knowledge of that, I would have immediately dealt with that situation,” Couch says. “I’m very strict with our leadership and teach very strictly that we are to lead godly lives.”
According to arrest warrant affidavits obtained by the Star-Telegram, the alleged abuse began in 1996 after the young victims’ family followed Aguilar from a church in California to Texas.
Detective David Dash writes in the warrant, “Because he was their spiritual leader he was able to move into their home and have easy access to the victim and her younger sister.”
The warrants go on to say that the alleged abuse happened in the family’s home, in motels, the church van and a church bathroom.
Court documents also state that the alleged victims’ parents and a sibling witnessed two sexual encounters between one of the daughters and Aguilar.
Pastor Couch says he learned of the sex abuse allegations years later, when the victims’ family was no longer affiliated with his church. He says the allegations came to light after he received a call from the victims’ mother.
“She called and told me what had happened or what they said had happened at the time and I asked if they had been to the police and she told me that the girls would not testify against him,” Couch says.
Couch says there was another pastor at New Beginnings in the 1990s, who has since died. Couch says if that pastor had any knowledge of sexual misconduct, he never shared the information with Couch or any other current clergy members.
Couch says his church has no intention of covering up wrongdoings.
“We just pray for the truth to be revealed because if it’s true then justice needs to be served,” Couch says.