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California Pastor Arrested for Kidnapping and Molestation

Richmond Police arrested the 53-year-old pastor for sexually abusing a young teen from his congregation.

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The pastor of a California church has been arrested on charges of kidnapping and molestation that involved a young teen girl from his congregation almost a decade ago.

Victor Manuel Hernandez-Pineda, 53, the pastor at Iglesia Pentecostes Movimiento De Gloria, was arrested on Friday (Dec. 1) in the wake of a police investigation by the Richmond Police that began on November 9. He was arrested on suspicion of three counts of kidnapping and four counts of molesting a girl under the age of 14.

The victim of the abuse, Karen Cifuentes, described what happened to ABC 7 in San Francisco. Karen is now 21 years-old. She just recently told her parents that when she was 13, the pastor convinced her it was God’s will they have sex. “He took me to a hotel near the school and at that moment I told him that I didn’t feel safe,” she said. “I didn’t feel good and that we shouldn’t do it, but he made me do it.”

Cifuentes said Hernandez would pose as a family member, check her out of school and then take her to a hotel. “What I want is for him to go to jail,” she said. “I don’t feel safe…He could harm me because I’m asking for help and he could find out and harm me. What he did was wrong. It’s not right. And I want the police to act.” Cifuentes says he sexually abused her five times over the course of three years.

Richmond Police moved to arrest Henandez because he may have become aware of their investigation. “When that happens, we feel it’s important to get them into custody, you know, whether it be to prevent them from fleeing, whether it be to protect the victim. All those are factors in which it would cause us to accelerate our investigation and take them into custody,” said Lt. Donald Patchin of the Richmond Police Department.

The pastor is being held on a $7 million bail, and authorities are looking into whether or not he has other potential victims.

Main photo: Victor Manuel Hernandez-Pineda

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.