A Maryland pastor has been charged with attempted rape in a case involving a young member of his church. He blamed the girl's "demons" for provoking him.
Octavio Cantarero, 42, is a pastor at the Iglesia Pentecostal Principe De Paz in Gaithersburg, MD.
In May, his victim filed a report with police, accusing him of attempting to rape her in January. According to her report, Cantarero offered her a room in the church on January 16th. The victim would otherwise have been living on her own for an unspecified reason, according to news reports. Cantarero offered her the room so she would have a place to stay.
After going to bed in the room, the victim was awoken during the night when Cantarero attempted to rape her. She fought back and then Cantarero her not to tell anyone about what he had done. He offered to help pay for her clothes, rent and school, according to police.
In the police department's press release, they also revealed what Cantarero told them about his motive. "He also stated that her demons had provoked him," they said.
Police issued a warrant for Cantarero's arrest on September 16th. Five days later, this past Saturday, Cantarero turned himself in.
Police have charged him with attempted second-degree rape. He was held without bond, according to police.
With all the coverage I have done on clergy and sexual abuse, in the Catholic Church and beyond, it remains shocking and appalling just how many clergy abuse the children in their congregations. And then, to blame this young girl's "demons" instead of taking responsibility for his own actions, is even more outrageous.
Hopefully justice will be served and Cantarero will be spending a long time in jail.