Ex-pastor from Colorado accused of sex assault

Associated Press/April 30, 2004

Fort Collins, Colo. -- A former Colorado pastor has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a child in 1996.

Jaime Solorio, 49, of El Paso, Texas, was being held Thursday in the Larimer County Detention Center on $50,000 bond. He was arrested in Texas in March and sent to Colorado after the alleged victim gave authorities a tape recording of a 2003 telephone conversation he had with Solorio.

"He made statements that support the victim's allegations," Deputy District Attorney Andy Taylor said.

The accuser, now 21, is a college student who spoke to the Coloradoan newspaper on condition his name not be used. He said he was 14 when Solorio, then 42, forced him to perform oral sex.

The accuser said Solorio later told him not to tell anyone.

"He said he was sorry ... that evil spirits caused him to do this thing," the alleged victim said. The two are related.

At the time, Solorio was a pastor at Iglesia del Dios Vivo, a Fort Collins church that has since closed.

The accuser's parents reported the incident to church headquarters in El Paso, according to the arrest affidavit and the accuser's father.

"The leader of the church said to keep quiet," said the father, who also was a pastor in Colorado from 1994 to 2002. The man said he regrets heeding the advice of the church.

"I made a lot of mistakes. I hurt the whole family," he said.

The accuser said he and his brother were spending the night with Solorio's son when Solorio sat next to him on the couch as the boys watched a movie.

"He started rubbing my upper body and then went down in my pants and started touching me," he said, adding that Solorio asked him to caress his leg. He said he was then forced to perform oral sex.

Amador Valenzuela, the senior pastor of the Iglesia del Dios Vivo church in El Paso, was Solorio's supervisor. According to a sheriff's report, Valenzuela traveled to Colorado to speak with Solorio and his accuser's family.

"He said he had talked to Jaime and that they had prayed about it," Deputy Roger Bartram said in his report, noting that Valenzuela remembered the incident as a "sexual' misunderstanding" he did not believe was serious.

Valenzuela also said he had received no complaints about Solorio, according to the report. Solorio moved to El Paso after the alleged incident. Valenzuela could not be located for comment.

The alleged victim said he is relieved to tell his story.

"I want to be able to move forward," he said, noting he has struggled with self-esteem, confidence and trust since he was 14. "If I can prevent one person from going through what I've gone through, it is all worth it."

Earlier this year, three Colorado dioceses released the results of a study ordered by the nation's Catholic bishops to assess the extent of sex abuse by clergy.

The Denver Archdiocese said it had paid nearly $1 million for sexual abuse cases involving seven Roman Catholic priests and 21 victims since 1950.

The Colorado Springs Diocese, which was not formed until 1984, has reported three cases of possible sexual misconduct by clergy. The Pueblo Diocese said 16 of the 501 clergy who served there from 1950 to 2003 were accused of sexual abuse.

The survey did not cover another 755 priests who have served in the Denver Archdiocese under the authority of about 20 religious orders.

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