Richmond faith leader calls for arrested ROC pastor to step down - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Richmond faith leader calls for arrested ROC pastor to step down

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Geronimo Aguilar, better known as "Pastor G," spent Tuesday night in a Richmond jail cell.

Pastor Geronimo Aguilar from the Richmond Outreach Center surrendered to U.S. Marshals at his Richmond home Tuesday afternoon on child sexual abuse charges.

"I think it is really a shock and devastating to just about everyone," said Sheilah Belle with Praise 104.7 during the afternoon drive. "It makes you stop and think what is really going on?"

Those who have stood by Pastor G's side, like Rev. Joe Ellison with the Virginia Christian Alliance, are now calling for the ROC's founder to step down as senior pastor.

"He needs to go," said Rev. Ellison. "He needs to go right now."

Police in Forth Worth, Texas charged Aguilar with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of 14 stemming from a complaint made in 2007 by two sisters in Anaheim, California.

The women are now in their 20s, but were underage at the time of the alleged incidents. The alleged crimes date back 17 years, according to sources.

"We are called to higher standards as men of God," said Rev. Ellison. "We're not perfect. What he is doing in that church may impact people ever trusting a pastor again."

Pastor G's attorney says his client is innocent.

"I'm extremely disappointed on how the Texas authorities proceeded with this when they knew exactly where my client was and how to find him," said attorney David Carlson. "This was done to embarrass the man."

Rev. Ellison says he hopes his friend will listen to his suggestion.

"Brother," said Rev. Ellison. "The law has stepped in now. You have to make a decision. The decision is you need to step down so the ministry can be focused and people can come and help the ROC."

Pastor Geronimo Aguilar founded the Richmond Outreach Center in 2001. It quickly caught on and was even named one of the fastest growing churches in America. The ROC outgrew its Warwick Road space in 2008 and moved into a new home. Finished in 2009, the church says 11,000 worship here each week.

Pastor G is due to be arraigned in court Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. at Manchester Courthouse in Richmond. His attorney says he will try to get his client released on his own recognizance.

The charges are felonies in Texas and could carry five and 99 years in prison as well as up to a $10,000 fine, if Aguilar is convicted.

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