RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – One day after the Richmond Outreach Center (ROC) announced the resignation of Pastor Geronimo Aguilar and three other pastors, Aguilar posted a statement on the church’s website.
“The past twelve years at The ROC have been an amazing journey. God took an unlikely crew from the West Coast, planted us in a warehouse that was a little larger than our current lobby, and grew us into one of the fastest-growing churches in America,” Aguilar wrote. [Click here to read the entire statement]
Aguilar, who is currently out on bond, was recently charged with seven felony charges in Fort Worth, Texas based on allegations that he sexually abused two young girls in the mid-90s.
“As you all know, my family and I have been facing difficult trials and persecution,” Aguilar wrote. “Although we will not be at The ROC, Samantha [his wife] and I are not leaving Richmond, and we hope to continue the many relationships we have built with you all. I would ask that you pray for me and my family, as we don’t know what God has in store for us, next.”
According to a Texas arrest warrant, the parents of Aguilar’s alleged victims followed the pastor from California to Texas to join him at New Beginnings church. The warrant indicated the parents allowed Aguilar to live in their home because “he was their trusted spiritual leader.”
It was during that time, Oct. 1996, Aguilar began to sexually abuse the couple’s 13 and 11-year-old daughters, according to the warrant. In a written statement, the parents indicated Aguilar admitted to having sex with their daughters.
The warrant indicated Aguilar had sex “in the family’s home, in motels, in the church van, in the church bathroom and public restrooms.”
Aguilar was asked to leave New Beginnings after a church member saw him kissing one of the girls, according to the warrant. However, in an interview with CBS 6, New Beginnings pastor Don Couch said he was unaware of allegations against Aguilar.
“I had no knowledge of that at all. If I had any knowledge of that, I would have immediately dealt with that situation,” Couch said. “I’m very strict with our leadership and teach very strictly that we are to lead godly lives.”
Couch said he learned of the sex abuse allegations years later, when the victims’ family was no longer affiliated with his church.
“She [the girls' mother] 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 said.
Aguilar will remain free on bond until he is indicted.
No one from the ROC’s board of directors was available to comment Thursday morning.