Pennsylvania man sentenced amid Jehovah’s Witness sexual abuse investigation

(WHTM) – A Reading man will serve up to 46 years in prison amid the Pennsylvania Attorney General‘s investigation into alleged sexual abuse of Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation members.

Luis Manuel Ayala-Velasquez, 56, was arrested last year after a grand jury investigation where sexual assault charges were recommended against more than a dozen members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith.

Ayala-Velasquez was sentenced to 14 to 46 years in prison and, should he be released, must register as a sex offender for life for repeated sexual assaults of a girl that started more than 20 years ago. He pled guilty to five felonies including rape of an unconscious person.

The Attorney General’s office last year said the investigation included testimony from the victim stating that “Ayala-Velasquez would sneak into (the victim’s) bedroom while she was sleeping and sexually assault her. Years later, when his victim was an adult, he allegedly raped her in his home.”

“The courageous victims who came forward and told the grand jurors their horrific stories of abuse led to charges against predatory defendants,” Attorney General Henry said on Wednesday. “The abuse in this case began decades ago, but the brave victim and the diligent efforts of OAG agents and attorneys ensured that justice was served and, at long last, the defendant was held accountable.”

The AG’s investigation began back in February 2023 with five men tied to Jehovah’s Witnesses being charged. Five more men were charged as part of the investigation in July 2023 and more than a dozen suspects have been identified.

In June, former Jehovah’s Witness elder Norman Aviles-Garriga was found guilty on 12 charges that included aggravated indecent assault as part of the AG’s investigation.

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