- (Photo: Facebook/The ROC (Richmond Outreach Center)
Months after its founding pastor Geronimo Aguilar resigned amid charges of sexual assault, Virginia's Richmond Outreach Center (ROC) megachurch has publicly acknowledged the former leader's "multiple extramarital affairs with members of our church and community."
"We have all been going through a time of grieving and hurt over the moral failings of our former Senior Pastor," the Board of Directors at Six O'Clock ROC, the church's weekly church service, said in a statement during the weekend.
Aguilar, affectionately known as "Pastor G," was extradited in May to Texas where he is facing seven felony charges, including sexual assaulted of two sisters under age 14 in the 1990s in the Fort Worth area before he founded the ROC ministry. He could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.
Pastor G is married and the father of five children.
"After our former pastor was arrested related to charges in Texas, the Board of Directors became aware of his multiple extramarital affairs with members of our church and community," the Board said. "This Biblically disqualified him from the office of pastor and leadership of The ROC in any capacity."
After the sexual assault allegations surfaced, several women came forward and claimed they had sex with Pastor G. "He brought us alcohol, we got drunk and the rest is history," said Amber Baker, according to 8News. "I had just turned 18. We had sex… It was wrong. Just because it is not illegal doesn't mean it is not wrong and he was my pastor I moved to Richmond to serve God." Baker has also claimed Pastor G had sex with other members of her family. "My mother, my aunt and myself have all been involved with him sexually."
"Over these past three months, our Board of Directors, working hand-in-hand with our leadership team and staff, have been stabilizing and advancing the ministries of The ROC," the statement added. "We've seen 1,212 people make decisions for Christ during this time."
The Board also said the church has been in the preparation stages of "a nationwide search for God's man to pastor our church and to lead us as we continue to fulfill our mission of Changing Lives, Making Life Changers."
Last month, the church hired two interim preachers, David Wheeler and Louis "PJ" Preston, from Lynchburg, Va., to interchangeably lead Six O'Clock ROC. They also took on the responsibility to prepare the congregation for a transition to a new head leader.
Three other pastors – Pastor Jason Helmlinger, Pastor Andrew Delgado and Pastor Matthew Aguilar – resigned from the church along with Pastor G in June although they were not arrested or linked to the sexual abuse case.
After the resignations, the church recruited Jonathan Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., as an adviser. "Obviously it's a tragic situation. Obviously the members there are saddened and they are shocked at what they have found out and what they have seen happen over these last few weeks, but they are still passionate about their faith," Falwell earlier told The Christian Post.
The ROC church had initially dismissed the allegations against Pastor G in a May 3 statement as "unsettling rumors and inaccurate news reports," but admitted it later as more information began to surface.
In the weekend statement, the church urged prayers for "our official search for a new Senior Pastor."