The Costa Rican Prosecutor’s Office last week announced criminal charges against a Guanacaste pastor on 22 counts of sexual abuse allegedly involving three adult victims and one minor.
The charges, made public last Wednesday, range over a six year period from 2007 to 2013. The suspect, identified as A. Gutiérrez, was an evangelical pastor at the Iglesia Dios del Evangelio Completo in Santa Cruz, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.
According to the daily La Nación, the pastor’s defense attorney said his client denied all charges. A spokeswoman for the Prosecutor's Office said Gutierréz could face up to 50 years in prison if found guilty on all counts.
La Nación reported the testimony of one of the alleged victims, a Nicaraguan man who said the relationship with Gutierréz began when he sought private counsel as a member of his congregation. The man alleged that Gutierréz touched his genitals in an act of blessing them 80 times, performed oral sex on him, and circumcised him with a pair of scissors.
“I told him that I wished I had a very large penis,” the alleged victim said, according to La Nación. “The pastor told me that God had revealed to him that I needed to be circumcised to remove the shape that it had. He also said that God had told him that I had a demon in my penis.”
The man also described a medical examination by the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ): “They did the exam in the OIJ office, [and] the medic told me that what had happened was a mutilation.”
Costa Rican prosecutors had requested Gutierréz be placed in three months of preventive detention while awaiting trial, but on Saturday, a judge in Santa Cruz allowed the pastor to be released, warning him to stay away from the alleged victims, according to La Nación.
The daily Diario Extra interviewed a second alleged victim, who said, “He [Gutiérrez] brought me to his office, and I had my suspicions of what he was doing with other people, then he dropped my pants and performed oral sex on me. I told him no, and it was better that I left.”