Pastor convicted of inappropriately touching church member claimed ‘devil made him do it’

Gregorio Maldonado.

KATY, Texas — A Texas pastor convicted of inappropriately touching a member of his congregation told the father of the victim that “the devil made him do it,” prosecutors said.

>> Read more trending news

Gregorio Maldonado, 46, of Katy, was convicted of indecent assault and sentenced to one year in the Fort Bend County Jail, KTRK-TV reported. He was also fined $4,000, according to the television station.

The conviction by a Fort Bend County jury on Monday was followed by the maximum sentence allowed by law, the Fort Bend Herald reported.

According to lead prosecutor Michelle Anderson, the victim was a member of the church in Stafford, located 21 miles southwest of downtown Houston, where Maldonado was a pastor. She lived with her family in Maldonado’s home, according to KHOU-TV.

According to court records, the victim, whose age was not revealed, claimed she was subjected to unwanted advances by the defendant while she slept, KRIV-TV reported. Records state on Nov. 9, 2021, Maldonado sneaked into the victim’s bed, began touching her inappropriately, and made her touch him while everyone else was sleeping, according to KTRK.

The victim eventually told her father about the alleged assault in January 2022, according to the television station.

When the man confronted Maldonado, he filmed the pastor making an apology.

Maldonado claimed that he could not recall the alleged encounter, but said that if anything did happen, “the devil made him do it,” KHOU reported.

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office arrested Maldonado in May 2022, alleging that other victims came forward with similar allegations, according to KTRK.

“The defendant abused his position of trust, and the victim has had to wait years for her day in court. She has suffered invisible scars left by the defendant, some of which will remain for the rest of her life,” Anderson said in a statement. “But she is a survivor. She now plans on using her traumatic experience to benefit other victims; she plans on going to the police academy to become an investigator for sexual crimes.”

Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton said the conviction was ground-breaking.

“Indecent assault was a Class C offense, like a traffic ticket, until 2019 when the Texas Legislature increased the severity of the crime,” Middleton told the Herald. “This is the first case of its kind tried in Fort Bend County. The verdict and sentence set a precedent that the people of Fort Bend County will not allow this kind of disgusting behavior and will not tolerate gross abuses of power.”

Comments on this article