SALINAS, Calif. - Central Coast News is learning a longtime pastor for the Salinas Valley has been arrested for child molestation and charged by the District Attorney's office.
77 year old Frank Martinez was arrested on December 12th by investigators for the Salinas Police Department.
According to officials with the Monterey County District Attorney's office, Martinez was charged with five counts all stemming from child molestation.
The counts include reoccurring sexual contact with a child under the age of 14 and lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, the youngest 6 years old.
The counts pertain to incidents that happened between the years 2000 and 2012.
One source, a 34-year-old relative of Martinez, claims she was a fourth victim to him. She told Central Coast News in an e-mail about his history.
"He wasn't a pastor at the time. It happened when he lived at the Sunset Park apartments on Del Monte Avenue. When I was 6 or 7 he became a pastor. There was a church on Sieber St. in East Salinas where he first started as a pastor. That was maybe in 1985 or 86."
She said Martinez opened United Christian Church, in Salinas, in 2000. According to well-known pastor, Frank Gomez, Martinez was well liked in the area and he never knew of any illegal actions.
Gomez said Martinez resigned two years ago and his congregation was turned over to Sally Torres, who moved the ministry to Castroville.
Sources tell Central Coast News that Frank Martinez was a pastor for over thirty years and most recently preached for the Christian Counseling Center in Salinas, which closed some years ago.
Those same sources tell Central Coast News that Martinez went under a number of different aliases in the Monterey County community.
Martinez pleaded not guilty to all the charges on December 17th and is due back in court on Wednesday, December 26th and a preliminary hearing could be scheduled for Friday, December 28th.