KISSIMMEE, Fla. - A Kissimmee pastor was arrested on charges of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, police said on Tuesday.
The Kissimmee Police Department said it received a complaint that Angel Perez, 45, a pastor at Templo Pentecostal Puerto De Salvation, had engaged in sexual acts with a 16-year-old boy from his church.
Detectives said they interviewed the victim, who said that while he spent the night at the Perez's home in September and October of 2011, the pastor touched him inappropriately while he slept.
Investigators said the incidents happened on three separate occasions. The teen told police he didn't report the incidents right away because he considered Perez a father figure.
According to the police report, the teen’s mother and the pastor are also in a romantic relationship.
Detectives said they attempted to interview Perez, but he was uncooperative.
“He was really upset,” said a friend of Perez’s. “He said he didn't do it. He doesn't know why he's being accused. All he was doing was helping every day.”
Perez’s ex-wife, Julie, said the allegations are false. The couple has three children together and 10 grandchildren.
“I guess it’s something they planned or something the boy has against him, but it's not true,” she said.
But according to the police report, Perez and his victim talked about the abuse at church. The teen told police that Perez apologized to him and told him "he was possessed by a demon and didn't know what was going on."
The owner of a store next to Perez’s church said a customer who's also a church member was in tears after the arrest.
“She was crying, shaking,” said store owner Odilia Alvarado. “Her kids used to be around that pastor, and they're really scared.”
Raja Aboul-Hosn, who is the landlord, said, "they just have a following and the preacher has so much energy and everybody think of him, as far as I know, like their father."
A prayer services at the church were cancelled Tuesday night after word spread of the arrest.
Police are asking anyone who may have been victimized by Perez or has knowledge of other victims to contact the Kissimmee Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit at 407-846-3333, by e-mail at email@example.com or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477).
Calls made to Crimeline remain anonymous.