TRIAL FARM, Orange Walk District, Mon. Apr. 20, 2015–Pastor Gerard Lopez, 60, a self-styled “pastor” who was to have headed the prospective Trial Farm Roca Del Poder Evangelical Church, but who did not have a license to be a church pastor, was remanded today by the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court, to the Belize Central Prison until Monday, June 29, on charges of four counts of producing child pornography.
Police say that on Friday, they went to the home of a mother and her two little girls, ages 3 years and 10 years old, in the Black Water area of Trial Farm, where they found the naked photos of the girls on the cell phone of the pastor, who was also at the house.
Lopez was immediately arrested and taken to the Orange Walk Police Station, where he was charged.
The school warden of the Trial Farm Government School told police that the 10-year-old girl had not attended school for about a week, and when she began to inquire of the neighbors about the girl, she was handed images of the girl by an unknown woman who approached the community policing officer and the school warden and handed over several correspondences that revealed pictures of an adult and the 10-year-old girl, along with a 3-year-old girl posing nude.
The warden immediately notified the school management, who alerted the Truancy Unit and the Community Policing Unit, and they went to the home of the girl to see what was happening.
Police said that the investigation led to Pastor Gerard Lopez, who was found at the children’s house with them (the children) and their mother.
Police said that when they questioned the pastor, he told them that he got the photographs of the two girls from their mother.
Police did not believe his story and searched his cell phone, where they found the nude photos of the two little girls, and they immediately arrested him and charged him with the offenses.
Police believe that the mother of the children was having an affair with the pastor, and she took the girls to meet him, and that the pastor coerced the minors to pose for him.
Police are conducting a further investigation to determine if the mother of the children should also be charged for her involvement.
On Friday, a Human Development officer took the two minors to the police station, and along with police, took them to a clinic, where they were examined by a doctor, who certified that they had not been carnally known.
In their response to the situation, the management of local Evangelical churches in Belize said that Lopez had received his pastor credentials to share the word of God at Roca Del Poder Evangelical Church in Trial Farm, but that the church was never opened.
The pastor’s credentials had expired about two years ago, and were not renewed. He was therefore not licensed to be a pastor in Belize, for the local Evangelical churches.