New Bedford pastor accused of rape, kidnapping, held without bail


Dec. 27, 2019

By Melanie DaSilva and Anita Baffoni

A New Bedford pastor who is facing several charges including rape and kidnapping was found dangerous and is being held without bail.

A dangerousness hearing was held on Thursday for Pastor Elmer Perez, 44, of Iglesia De Jesucristo Church on Acushnet Avenue. He was taken into custody last week following a month-long investigation into accusations of sexual assault.

In addition to rape and kidnapping, Perez was charged with indecent assault and battery, witness intimidation, and threatening to commit a crime.

Prosecutors described the alleged facts in this case as a pattern of predatory behavior.

“He’s trying to kiss people, he’s trying to get them to refer to him as a man and not their priest,” Assistant District Attorney Zach Mercer said. “All of these things suggest that this is what this defendant does.”

The alleged incident involved a 28-year-old female parishioner who says she was raped by Perez inside the church.

Prosecutors say five other women came forward saying Perez has sexually assaulted them, in the past.

The defense called a parishioner to the stand who has been at the church for five years and is in charge of maintenance of the church once a week.

The judge and attorneys reviewed a two-minute long video as evidence of the room where the alleged incident occurred.

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