RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Geronimo Aguilar, better known as "Pastor G," faced a Texas jury Wednesday for the ultimate decision: Guilty on all seven counts of child sexual abuse.
The verdict comes after hours of deliberations and years after his arrest, but it's been more than two decades since the alleged assaults of the two girls in Texas. They date back to the '90s, years before Pastor G founded the Richmond Outreach Center. The ROC made its mark quickly, even named one of the fastest growing churches in America.
But that all came to a standstill in 2013 when Aguilar was arrested and charged with sexual assault.
He and three other pastors resigned shortly afterwards. But Pastor G has denied the allegations from the start. In fact, just a day before the verdict, he took the stand in his own defense, reportedly denying having any sexual contact with the alleged victims, even saying he considered them like sisters.
It's something the jury and Virginia Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests Director Becky Ianni doesn't buy.
"I'm glad that he was found guilty," said Ianni. "When you're abused by someone religious, in a way, you almost feel like you've been abused by God."
Being a victim of sexual assault as a child by a church leader herself, she applauds the victims for coming forward and hopes more can do the same.
"I'm thinking with this conviction they will be encouraged to come forward, and I'm hoping that's what will happen," said Ianni.
Don Blake with the Virginia Christian Alliance is also speaking out about the Aguilar verdict, saying, "His actions impacted the lives of many people in the Richmond community. I have a great deal of empathy and sorrow for his family to have to go through this, but justice was done. He owes a debt to society that he will have to pay."
Pastor G's former church -- now renamed Celebration Church and Outreach Ministry -- issued the following statement after Aguilar's conviction:
"This is a time for us, as a church, to respond in prayer, especially for the victims who have suffered deeply. We are doing that. The Church is stronger than the actions of any one individual. As a church, Celebration Church and Outreach Ministry, is moving forward and asking God to help us act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before Him. We intend to stay focused on our mission to be a place of redemption and hope for the people in the city of Richmond and beyond."
Aguilar faces up to life in prison.