The 44-year-old pastor of a Brandon church faces charges that he molested three females, ages 12, 17 and 43.
Francisco Rios, pastor of Casa De Amor Church, was arrested Friday on warrant at his Brandon home, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.
According to deputies, the investigation began in August after the three females talked to each other and discovered that each had been touched by Rios at the church, 117 W. Windhorst Road.
The 17-year-old told deputies she was touched inappropriately on about 15 occasion beginning in 2011. Rios told her that he was doing so because “he loved her as a pastor and she was not to tell anyone because he could get in trouble,” according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.
Rios touched the 43-year-old inappropriately in April 2013, deputies said. “He convinced her it was a way to cure a medical condition,” the sheriff’s office said.
The 12-year-old was molested by Rios about two times a week over the past year, deputies said.
Rios, of 810 N. Regent Circle, faces three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. He was taken to the Hillsborough County Jail with no bail set.