Nearly four months after Virginia’s Richmond Outreach Center (ROC) was rocked by the departure of senior pastor Geronimo Aguilar, who was charged with sexual assault, the church has clarified the reason for his resignation.
“We have all been going through a time of grieving and hurt over the moral failings of our former senior pastor,” said the board of directors at the church’s weekly service, Six O’Clock ROC, Saturday.
Aguilar, known as “Pastor G,” was charged in Texas in May with seven felonies in two cases of sexual assault of two sisters under the age of 14.
The alleged assaults—which were said to have taken place before Aguilar founded ROC in 2001—date back to 1996. Four of the felonies he faces carry potential life sentences.
“After our former pastor was arrested related to charges in Texas, the board of directors became aware of his multiple extramarital affairs with members of our church and community,” the statement said. “This biblically disqualified him from the office of pastor and leadership of the ROC in any capacity. The board of directors is committed to providing godly leadership at all levels of ministry.”
Several women came forward after Aguilar was charged with sexual assault, claiming they had sexual relations with him. Amber Baker told 8News she had sex with Aguilar when she was 18. She is the fourth woman to claim to the news station she had sex with the pastor as a teen.
Baker was 5 years old when she started attending the church. She said Aguilar—who is married and has five children—took her, her 16-year-old sister and two other young girls to a timeshare when his wife was out of town.
“He brought us alcohol, we got drunk and the rest is history,” Baker said. “I had just turned 18. We had sex. It was wrong. Just because it is not illegal doesn't mean it is not wrong, and he was my pastor. I moved to Richmond to serve God.”
Baker also claimed Aguilar has been sexually involved with her mother and her aunt.
In its statement, the board of directors said that along with ROC’s leadership team and staff, it has been “stabilizing and advancing” the church’s ministries, explaining that “1,212 people [have made] decisions for Christ during this time.”
The board also said it has “been in the preparation stages of a nationwide search for God’s man to pastor our church and to lead us as we continue to fulfill our mission of 'Changing Lives, Making Life Changers.'”
The church hired two interim pastors last month—David Wheeler and Louis “PJ” Preston, from Lynchburg, Va. The pair took turns leading Six O’Clock ROC and helped prepare the congregation transition to a new head leader. The board said Saturday it has officially begun its search for that leader.