Gaithersburg pastor accused of sexually assaulting girl

A Gaithersburg, Maryland, pastor was being held without bond Tuesday after charges that he sexually assaulted a girl, and police want to know if there are other victims.

Octavio Cantarero, the pastor of Iglesia Pentecostal Principe De Paz, is charged with fourth-degree sexual offense (sexual contact) and attempted second-degree rape against a minor, Montgomery County police said in a statement.

The victim was a congregant at the time of the offenses, authorities said.

When the juvenile met Canterero, police said, “he told her that she was too young to live alone and provided her with a room at the church to use.” On Jan. 16, the 42-year-old man allegedly brought the victim to a room with a bed and said they would both sleep there.

The victim awoke to him trying to rape her, police alleged.

“Cantarero asked the victim not to tell anyone about the incident and that he could help pay for her clothes, rent and school. He also stated that her demons had provoked him,” police said.

She reported the offenses to police in May. A warrant was issued Sept. 16, and he turned himself in days later.

Police ask anyone who believes they were victimized by Cantarero to call (240) 773-5400.

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