Eustis pastor accused of battering women speaks out

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - A Eustis pastor accused of sexually battering three women he was supposed to be helping through a food pantry he runs insists the relationships were consensual.

Pedro Custodio, or “Pastor Pete,” told WFTV he wasn’t himself when he bonded out of the Lake County Jail last week, taking his frustrations out on a Channel 9 microphone by knocking it out of a reporter’s hand.

The alleged victims told police they stayed at a homeless shelter Custodio ran, and claim he threatened to kick them out if they didn’t have sex with him.

"I've been doing this a long time, and there's always one or two that accuse you of something," he said.

On Wednesday, people at the food pantry Custodio runs for the needy said they are taking his side.

“He’s a good man. He has helped a lot of people and I stand by him,” said Eustis resident Jackie Clarey.

Clarey is one of the 500 people the ministry claims to help feed each week.

“It could be any of you. Somebody accused you and you’re in the same situation. But the Bible said you can be accused, but you’re innocent until proven guilty,” said Shuna-Da Harris.

Custodio’s wife said she doesn't believe the allegations and will stand by her husband.

“I’m convinced these women are lying. It’s a shame. I’m not judgmental. I don’t like to judge anybody. That’s not my job,” said Margaret Custodio. “The accusations they are making, I'm totally shocked.  And I'm telling everybody, just wait. God will bring everything to the light."

Custodio said he’s eager to get back to work.