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A Maryland pastor is accused of trying to rape an underage girl, then blaming "her demons" for provoking his attack.
Octavio Cantarero, the 42-year-old pastor of the Iglesia Pentecostal Principe De Paz in Gaithersburg, allegedly approached the girl, a member of his church’s congregation who was apparently living on her own, to offer her a room in the church.
“He told her that she was too young to live alone and provided her with a room at the church to use,” the Montgomery County Department of Police wrote in a press release.
In January, the pastor allegedly brought the victim to one of the rooms in the church and “stated that the two would sleep there” in one bed.
“During the night, the victim woke up to Cantarero attempting to rape her," police wrote. “The victim resisted. Cantarero asked the victim not to tell anyone about the incident and that he could help pay for her clothes, rent, and school. He also stated that her demons had provoked him.”
The victim reported the incident in May, which initiated an investigation. A warrant was issued for Cantarero last week and he turned himself in on Saturday. Police charged Cantarero with multiple sexual offenses, including attempted second-degree rape against a minor. He’s being held on no bond.
It’s not clear if Cantarero is still employed as pastor.
Investigators are asking anyone else who believes that they were victimized by Cantarero, or any parent who believes that their child was victimized, to call the police’s Special Victims Investigations Division at 240-773-5400.
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