by: Mark Becker Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Police in Charlotte said the Methodist minister charged with assaulting two children may face more charges.
Orlando Caldera made his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon on charges that he fondled two girls, 6 and 10 years old, at Memorial United Methodist Church, where he was a pastor working with the church’s Hispanic members.
Police say they have identified other potential victims and are scheduling interviews for the children with counselors, and those interviews could lead to more charges.
Caldera did not say anything about the charges as he appeared on a video monitor from the jail.
The judge told Caldera through an interpreter that he would appoint an attorney to represent him on the charges.
Caldera’s wife and two daughters were in the courtroom but did not want to comment as they left the courthouse.
A counselor who works with victims of sexual abuse said the case fits a troubling pattern.
“We teach children to obey their elders or to listen to authority figures,” said Cori Goldstein, who works for Safe Alliance.
Goldstein said 9 times out of 10 the abuser is someone the child knows and trusts, like a family member or close friend.
“It could be a minister, it could also be someone who has access to the child, and the parents trust to leave them alone with the child," Goldstein said.