Southwest Houston church reeling from pastor's sex abuse arrest

ABC News KTRK-TV, Texas/August 18, 2013

By Simon Gutierrez

Houston -- A local church is speaking out about their pastor's arrest and the charges he faces. Romulo Jimenez is accused of molesting an eight-year-old girl.

Sunday services went on as scheduled at the church, but members admit the situation is difficult for everyone.

Centro Cristiano Vida Nuevo is a Spanish-speaking church in southwest Houston. This week, its congregation learned Jimenez had been arrested on charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child.

"It's hard but we trust in Jesus Christ," member Javier Quinones said.

According to prosecutors, a church member caught Jimenez and a young girl in the church's bathroom. That started the investigation. The girl told investigators it wasn't the first time Jimenez had sexually abused her.

"The allegation is that he repeatedly sexually abused this child multiple times over a long period of time," prosecutor Angela Smith said.

Earlier this week, Jimenez's name was still on the door of the church. It has since been removed. On Sunday, someone else led the services. The congregation is carrying on through this difficult time.

"We love children. We protect the children. We love the family," Quinones said. "It's hard for everybody over here, but we trust in God."

Members of the congregation say their pastor has not returned to the church. He remains free on $50,000 bond.

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