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Former California Pastor Faces Life in Prison for Sexual Abuse of Children

A former California pastor will serve a 25-years-to-life life term in prison for sexual abuse of children.

The Tulare County Superior Court sentenced Gustavo Zamora, age 69, January 7 after he pleaded no contest in October to six counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 and to the special allegation that the crimes occurred against more than one victim.

Each count is a felony. Zamora also will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Zamora worked as a pastor at Apostolic Assembly Church in the city of Lindsay from 1984 to 2000, when the first victim disclosed the sexual abuse. Zamora disappeared after he was confronted with the allegations, the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office said, and was later found in Lodi, California, where he was again pastoring a church, and returned to Tulare County for prosecution.

Between 2004 and 2020, five female victims came forward alleging sexual abuse by Zamora between Jan. 12, 1984 and July 12, 2000. The victims were between the ages of four and fourteen years old at the time of the assaults.

The crimes involved substantial sexual conduct, the D.A.’s office said in a Jan. 11 Facebook post.

“While it may be difficult for some to process such news, especially regarding someone in a position of trust, the bravery of these victims to come forward cannot be understated,” said District Attorney Tim Ward. “Their courage should be an example to anyone who has suffered such abuse.”

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.