Minister Pleads Not Guilty to Rape Charges

The Associated Press, carried in Boston Globe
July 11, 2006

Hartford, Conn. --A Pentecostal minister accused of fathering the child of an 11-year-old member of his congregation pleaded not guilty Tuesday to rape charges. Superior Court Judge Thomas Miano set bond at $750,000 for Modesto Reyes and ordered him to have no contact with the victim or her family.

Miano also admonished a group of about a dozen of Reyes' supporters for waving at him during his arraignment.

"In 30 years of doing this, I've never seen an outpouring of support like this," said Bill Gerace, Reyes' attorney.

Reyes faces charges of first-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.

He is accused of raping the girl four times between August and December 2005. Three of those assaults allegedly occurred inside his office at the Inglesia De Dios Cristo Te Llama church, where he is the pastor.

The girl, now 12, told officials at her school about the alleged assaults in May. They contacted police.

She gave birth later that month, and DNA testing showed that Reyes fathered the child, Hartford police spokeswoman Nancy Mulroy said.

According to court documents, the girl told police that Reyes first raped her inside a van after driving children home from a church function. After dropping the other children off at their homes, he drove to lot near an empty loading dock and forced the girl to have intercourse with him, the records allege.

A month later Reyes called the girl into his office and told her he was suffering from heart problems, the records say. He then locked the door and raped her again, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

He used similar health ruses to get her alone in the office in October and December, when the other rapes occurred, according to the documents.

The baby boy has been placed in the custody of the girl's family.

Reyes is due back in court July 31.

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