LA pastor charged with sexually abusing 2 girls

Associated Press

San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

LOS ANGELES - A pastor was charged Monday with multiple counts of sexually abusing two girls who attended his church in the San Fernando Valley, prosecutors said.

Joseph Gary Torres, 46, was ordered held on $2 million bail during an initial court appearance Monday, the district attorney's office said in a statement. He was arrested Thursday.

He allegedly met the girls at his Sunland church, Iglesia Bautista Reformada, which is Spanish for Reformed Baptist Church.

A call to the church seeking comment late Monday was not immediately returned.

Prosecutors contend he molested a 12-year-old girl several times from July to August last year. They claim he molested a 14-year-old girl from July 2005 to last month.

Torres was charged with 11 counts, including continuous sexual abuse, sexual penetration by a foreign object, sodomy by force, committing lewd act upon a child and oral copulation.

He faces up to 30 years in state prison if convicted of all counts.