A pastor is accused of sexually battering a 17-year-old girl after telling her she was possessed by a demon, Pasco County authorities say.
- Pastor accused of sexual encounters with girl
- Sheriff's affidavit says he told girl she had multiple personalities
- Deputies: 1 of the personalities was possessed by demon, he told girl
- RELATED: Winter Haven-area pastor charged with child sex crimes
Pastor Gerardo "Jerry" Martinez of Miracle Christian Church on Thursday was charged with two counts of sexual battery/custodial authority solicits victim, according to a Pasco County complaint affidavit. He has bonded out of jail.
Authorities started an investigation into the 52-year-old Martinez after a 17-year-old parishioner came to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office in December, according to the affidavit.
In April of last year, the girl and her family started to attend the New Port Richey church on 5724 State Road 54 where she "was advised by (Martinez) she... suffered from multiple personalities and that one of the personalities was possessed by a demon," stated the Sheriff's affidavit.
Martinez gained the trust of the girl's parents, and "he maintained a custodial figure" while he and the girl were together, even going to her Tarpon Springs home while her parents were away, the affidavit said.
Between April and October of 2017, Martinez and the girl engaged in sexual contact numerous times at various places, either at the church, her home and a Publix parking lot while in the New Port Richey man's vehicle, according to the affidavit.
"The defendant did so without the victim's consent and was in a position to manipulate the victim," deputies stated in the affidavit.
During a "non-custodial interview," Martinez denied driving to the girl's house from the church during this time period but changed his testimony and indicated he would drive her part way, the affidavit stated.
Martinez told investigators said that he only went to the girl's home because she asked him to help walk her dog while her parents were away, but he claimed that he did not go into the home. However, he later admitted he did go inside, deputies said.
Martinez's wife denied knowing her husband was going over to the girl's house to walk her dog, the affidavit said.
Martinez denied having sexual encounters with the teenager and would not talk with authorities after that.
Spectrum Bay News 9 tried to call the New Port Richey church for comment, but the phone number was disconnected. Someone picked up twice for calls placed to Martinez's personal number, but the person only listened before hanging up.
A biography on the church's website said Monday that Martinez is a New Jersey native and married with three children, and how he found God after being in prison.
"At 18, he moved back to New Jersey and soon found himself involved in the drug world and continued on in Philadelphia where he was arrested around the age of 28. In prison, Pastor Jerry went to a church service and had an encounter with God that radically changed his life," the website stated.
Last week, the 43-year-old pastor of a Winter Haven-area church was charged with child sex crimes.