Newark Pastor Accused of Forcing Teen Girls Into Sex Acts at NJ Motel

Pastor and one of his congregants allegedly forced victims to videotape them

Wednesday, May 19, 2010  |  Updated 1:26 PM EDT
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Newark Pastor Accused of Forcing Teen Girls Into Sex Acts at NJ Motel

Union County Prosecutor's Office

Rev. Moises Cotto

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A Newark pastor allegedly forced two teenage girls to videotape him and one of his congregants engaged in sexual acts at a New Jersey motel, authorities said.

Cops arrested Rev. Moises Cotto, pastor of the Congregation of Yahweh Templo El Candelero, at his East Orange home Monday night and charged him with kidnapping, aggravated assault, attempted aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a minor.

Authorities say the 55-year-old Cotto and his congregant, Brenda Pabon, met multiple times a week at the Benedict Motel on Routes 1&9 in Linden and forced the two girls to videotape.

The investigation also revealed that Cotto and Pabon allegedly made at least one of the girls take her clothes off and pose in pictures with the pastor several times, and the pastor tried to sexually assault one of the victims, who resisted, during at least one of the meetings at the motel. The alleged abuse ended about two weeks ago when one of the victims told a parent what was happening.

The pair began having an affair after Pabon, 37, sought counseling from Cotto. It wasn't immediately clear when the couple allegedly began involving the teen victims in their sexual escapades. 

Pabon, of Middlesex County, turned herself into authorities Tuesday and is being held on $750,000 bail. She was charged with three counts of kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a minor.

Cotto, who is also affiliated with Yahweh Congregations in Jersey City and Paterson, is  being held at the Union County Jail on $1.3 million bail.

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