Self-proclaimed pastor gets life for sexually exploiting young girls



ORLANDO, Fla. - A self-proclaimed apostle and evangelist was sentenced to life in prison for sexually exploiting young girls he met through his so-called ministry.

In court on Tuesday, emotional victims testified how Luis Morales damaged their lives, but he and his wife, Rebecca Rivera, called them liars.

The six victims, now young adults, left federal court with their families feeling, they said, safer and stronger, knowing Morales will never go free.

On the stand, they described the heartache, stolen innocence, shame and mistrust they suffer because of Morales' abuse and betrayal.

A judge, however, had to stop Morales and Rivera repeatedly from claiming his innocence.  The judge told them the jury didn't believe it and neither does he. 

But Morales’ son and grandchildren also told the judge the accusations are not true.

Morales said he believes there's a conspiracy behind his conviction.

Rivera was convicted of encouraging Morales to sexually assault the girls. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but she plans to appeal the sentence.

“She maintains her innocence. We had a jury trial, and there are issues we're going to appeal,” said defense attorney Andrew Chmelir.

Both Morales and Rivera said they plan to appeal, partly because the only evidence against them is the testimony of the victims.