Updated yesterday at 6:06 PM
Houston -- A Houston pastor is accused of sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl in his congregation. Romulo Jimenez, 67, is jailed and charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child.
Jimenez was a pastor at Centro Christiano Vida Nueva in the 8800 block of Synott. The alleged abuse happened on church property several times between August and February of 2012.
The allegations surfaced after a church member who saw suspicious activity between the pastor and the little girl continuously voiced her concerns. After authorities got involved, the disturbing details began to unfold.
The child told investigators the first time Pastor Jimenez touched her inappropriately was when she was just 8 years old. She said he took her into his church office one Friday evening and laid her on top of the desk. He then removed a portion of her clothing and sexually assaulted her, according to court documents.
The second time he allegedly assaulted the child was while she was sitting on his lap inside his car in the church parking lot.
Then on February 8, a church member saw something that made her uneasy. The woman told investigators she saw the pastor coming out of the bathroom late one night and he, being stunned, acted rudely toward her. She then saw the little girl in the bathroom with her pants and underwear down.
The woman asked what he was doing with the girl, and the pastor said he was just helping her go the restroom. The woman immediately went to the girl’s parents and told them what she saw, adding that they needed to keep a closer watch on the child, but said they did not act on her warning. The woman also contacted Children’s Protective Services.
The child’s mother admitted that the woman warned her, but said her daughter denied anything happened at first. However, when she questioned her daughter again in April, the girl confirmed the allegations.
The parents then went to confront the pastor at his home, in front of his wife. The parents said the pastor said he indeed made a mistake, but would not talk in depth about what happened. The parents finally contacted law enforcement on May 5.
His wife says he has repented for his wrongdoings, according to court documents.
The pastor’s wife provided a written statement to investigators acknowledging that the victim’s parents confronted her husband at their home in April. She said her husband "did not deny it and confessed to the parents his guilt and mistake about the poor decision he had made with their daughter." She also added that two more incidents happened in the church kitchen and that the pastor has "repented for his mistake," documents state.
Pastor Jimenez and his lawyer went to speak with investigators at the Crimes Against Children office, but shortly after their arrival, the lawyer said her client would not be providing a statement regarding the allegations.
Authorities moved forward with pressing charges.
Neighbors were stunned when they heard the allegations.
"Not happy at all right now, my heart is beating fast," said Norma Racio. "You want to trust people, the people that are supposed to be religious people, who teach and raise your child to become better people and it turns out they’re doing harm to them. It’s definitely hard to hear things like that."
Pastor Jimenez’s bail was set at $90,000.
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