Maryland Pastor Convicted of Rape, Sex Offense Against Parishioner

A Maryland pastor has been convicted of rape and sex offenses against a parishioner, according to multiple reports. Eric Odile Vidal Fuentes, 39, pastor of Pentecostal El Fin Vine Church, was found guilty on July 12, 2023, of second-degree rape and fourth-degree sex crimes against a parishioner, the Tacoma Park Police said in a press release.

MARYLAND NEWS

The victim, who has not been identified, reported the assault to police in May 2022, according to Fox News. She told investigators that Fuentes had sexually assaulted her multiple times over several months.

During the trial, the victim testified that Fuentes had used his position as a pastor to gain her trust and then subjected her to sexual abuse. She also described feeling trapped and unable to speak out against him, according to NBC Washington.

Fuentes, who has been held without bond since his arrest in May 2022, faces up to 20 years in prison for the rape charge and up to three years in prison for the sex offense charge, according to WUSA9.

The conviction of Fuentes has sent shockwaves throughout the community, with many expressing their support for the victim and calling for justice to be served. In a statement, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy praised the victim for her courage to testify against Fuentes.

“The defendant in this case is a pastor who used his position of trust to sexually assault a vulnerable congregation member,” McCarthy said. “We are grateful for the jury’s verdict and hope that it brings some measure of closure to the victim.”

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