Pastor Pleads Not Guilty in Rape Case
Followers Show Support for Churchman Accused of Four Assaults; DNA Suggests Girl, Now 12, Had His Child
By Matt Burgard
July 12, 2006
A Hartford pastor accused of sexually assaulting and impregnating an 11-year-girl appeared in court to plead not guilty Tuesday, while dozens of his followers showed up to offer support.
Modesto Reyes, 52, the pastor at Iglesia De Dios, Cristo Te Llama, church on Broad Street, was overcome with emotion after a crowd of about 40 followers showed up at Superior Court in Hartford as a sign of support for him, said his lawyer, William Gerace.
"They were from his congregation and from outside his congregation, and they were all pro-Modesto," Gerace said.
Hartford police arrested Reyes June 22 and charged him with four counts of first-degree sexual assault. He is accused of sexually assaulting a girl whose family attends his church on four occasions from August to December 2005.
The girl, now 12, had a baby boy in May and DNA tests showed with more than 99 percent accuracy that Reyes is the father, according to court records.
The case first came to the attention of police in May when they got a call from the principal of a local elementary school about a student who complained that she had been sexually assaulted by her pastor, court records say.
Two days later, the girl delivered a boy at Hartford Hospital, where she gave a statement to police detailing the instances in which she claimed Reyes had sexually assaulted her, court records say.
The girl said the first sexual assault happened when Reyes was driving children home from a church function in the van the church uses to transport people, court records say. After all the other children had been dropped off, she told police, Reyes drove the van to a secluded area near a loading dock on Ledyard Street, where he parked and got into the back seat with her, court records say.
The pastor then sexually assaulted her, records say. A month later, Reyes called the girl into his office at the church, where he told her he wanted her help with health problems he was suffering, records say. He told her to sit on a soft-cushioned chair, where he sexually assaulted her again, records say.
Reyes is accused of sexually assaulting the girl twice more in his church office, in each case appealing for her help with his health problems, records say.
The girl's baby is in the custody of her family, records say.
Reyes remains in custody with bail set at $750,000. He is to return to court on July 31.
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