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Florida Pastor Negotiates 20 Years for Sexual Battery Against a Girl Under 12

A Jacksonville pastor who was charged with sexually molesting at least one girl under the age of 12 has been sentenced after negotiating a guilty plea.

Rafael Cuevas

Rafael Cuevas, 53, was arrested last April and charged with three counts of sexual battery and five counts of lewd and lascivious molestation against a female victim under 12 years old.

Cuevas pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted sexual battery of a minor. As part of a negotiated plea deal, he will serve 20 years in a Florida state prison. Following his release, Cuevas will serve 10 years of probation. The state will also designate him as a sexual predator.

Per the plea agreement, the court dropped the other charges against him.

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According to the arrest report, authorities received word that Cuevas molested a child for four years starting in June 2017.

Investigators discovered the victim was under 12 years old during the four years of the alleged abuse. The arrest report said the child told detectives Cuevas would molest her four to five times a week.

The child also shared with authorities the molestation occurred in several locations, including inside Cuevas’ truck and in the church where he pastored.

During the investigation, a second child talked with detectives and told them Cuevas also molested her on multiple occasions.

Cuevas was the pastor of Casa De Oracion Y Adoracion (Temple of Prayer Assembly of God), a small Spanish-speaking church where his father, Gabriel Cuevas, had pastored for 42 years.

He took over after his father, who built the Jacksonville Church by hand in 1972 and passed away in a tragic car accident at age 72.

Temple of Prayer Assembly of God is a small, independent congregation and is not affiliated with the Assemblies of God denomination.

Jessica Eturralde

Jessica Eturralde is a military wife of 18 years and mother of three who serves as a freelance writer, TV host, and filmmaker. Bylines include Yahoo, Huffington Post, OC16TV.