NORWALK (CNS) - An associate pastor of Las Buenas Nuevas Church in Norwalk was in custody today following his arrest for allegedly sexually assaulting ``numerous'' adult female parishioners from 2004 to 2012, authorities said.
Jorge Juan Castro, 53, was taken into custody on Sept. 13 at his home in Norwalk and booked on suspicion of rape, oral copulation, and penetration by a foreign object. He was held in lieu of $2 million bail.
Castro also is an associate pastor at a church in Riverside County, but there are no known victims in that jurisdiction, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reported.
According to the sheriff's department, Castro moved to the Los Angeles area from Argentina in 2004, and was an associate pastor and counselor at the Norwalk church.
``Many of the victims are Spanish-speaking undocumented immigrants,'' the sheriff's department said in a statement.
``The suspect allegedly preyed upon the victims' vulnerability ... by (telling) the victims if they reported him he would have the victims deported, while additionally threatening to expose the victims to public embarrassment and ridicule,'' the sheriff's statement said.
``The information came to deputies' attention when over 20 women ranging from age 18 to 39 implicated the suspect to a third party,'' the sheriff's statement said.
``That person contacted sheriff's deputies.''
Anyone with more information on the case was urged to call sheriff's Special Victims Bureau detectives at (877) 710-5273, or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.