Editor's note: This article contains graphic details of an explicit nature
A former pastor who confessed to coercing and enticing a teenage girl into engaging in sexual acts with him at his church so she could be cleansed and freed from a “dark place” of childhood sexual trauma will now spend 10 years behind bars, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
Cesar Agusto Guerrero Jr., 42, of Liberty Township, Ohio, admitted in June 2020 that he engaged in sexual acts with his 17-year-old victim on July 20, 2019, and again on Aug. 5, 2019, at his office at the Mision Cristiana el Calvario Church. He was sentenced via video conference in U.S. District Court.
Officials noted in an earlier report that on Aug. 7, 2019, several female members of Guerrero’s church at the time, including the 17-year-old, had made complaints about him.
Court documents say the pastor contacted her in July through Facebook Messenger and informed her that he dreamt she was “dressed in white, while walking in a dark place.”
He then told her “that this dream made him concerned for her and that God was speaking to him, and the only way to get out of the dark place was for her to have sexual relations with (him)” in what would be a “cleansing process.”
Guerrero further asked the teenager to record herself naked and send him sexually explicit photos while citing the Bible.
She later met with the pastor on July 30 at his church office where he allegedly had her perform oral sex “in order to free her mouth,” and forced her to have sexual intercourse, court documents noted.
At a hearing in 2019, a judge overseeing the case cut the prosecutor short as he tried to describe the details of the case.
Guerrero, according to court documents, wielded immense power over his congregants who at the time of his arrest considered him a “prophet of God.”
His 17-year-old victim’s father, who thought his daughter would be safe in the church, was left in a crisis of faith.
"He's been using God's word to tell the girls to do sexual things and the girls really thought that was coming from God," the father, who asked not to be identified at the time, said. "He was doing horrible things inside the room. That makes you think, if God exists, God wouldn't let this person do things like that.”
When asked how he felt about the situation, the father said: "Angry, frustrated, can't believe. You don't believe in God no more."
A second girl also alleged that when she was 14 several years ago, she was sexually abused by the pastor at a conference in New York where she had traveled with his family and other church members.
Guerrero, who was born in Honduras, is a legal resident of the United States. He will be a registered sex offender and could be deported after he's released from prison.