SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic – Dominican police have arrested a Protestant pastor who is accused of molesting at least 30 children and teenagers in this northern city.
Police said Thursday that Daniel Vasquez was turned over to the regional prosecutor’s office.
The cleric in custody denied the accusation and said that he had faith in the investigations being carried out by the prosecutor’s office because he is “innocent.”
The case has caused great indignation in Santiago, where parents of the affected students went to the prosecutor’s office earlier Thursday to file formal charges against Vasquez.
The Rev. Pablo Ureña, director of the Niños por una Esperanza Program in the Santiago neighborhood of Cienfuegos, where the alleged abuses occurred, asked the authorities to intensify the investigation.
Ureña, who went to the prosecutor’s office with the parents who were complaining against Vasquez, called on the suspect to turn himself in to the authorities.
Vasquez bought presents for young boys as bait, then invited them to his house, where he sexually abused them, according to the parents’ complaints.
The complainants also said that the accused was the pastor of the Jesus, Source of Salvation Church in Cienfuegos, where he got to know the boys he then abused.