MURRIETA (CNS) – A 55-year-old Wildomar pastor accused of sexually assaulting two girls numerous times must stand trial on nearly two dozen felony charges, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Fredy Romeo Gonzalez Lopez was arrested in November 2022 following a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigation.
At the end of a preliminary hearing Tuesday, Superior Court Judge John Monterosso found there was sufficient evidence to bound Lopez over for trial on eight counts of aggravated rape of a child, five counts each of sexual penetration of a minor and sodomy of a child, four counts of lewd acts on a person under 14 years old and multiple sentence-enhancing allegations of targeting two or more victims in a sex crime.
The judge scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Jan. 16 at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.
Lopez is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the nearby Byrd Detention Center.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Joshua Parker, Gonzalez presided at a Wildomar church, but the house of worship wasn’t identified.
Parker said detectives initiated an investigation during the first week of November 2022, following reports of an alleged sexual assault on a child at a property in the 32000 block of Blue Terrace Street, near Palomar Street.
According to the criminal complaint, the two victims, identified only as “A.A.” and “A.L.A.,” were allegedly assaulted at various times from September 2020 to November 2022.
Court papers described instances in which the defendant allegedly fondled their breasts and raped them, when the victims were between 10 and 12 years old.
Details regarding how Lopez was connected to the girls and the specific circumstances behind the alleged sexual abuse — including where and why he was alone with them — were not disclosed.
The defendant was interviewed at the sheriff’s Lake Elsinore station on Nov. 9, 2022, after which he was taken into custody without incident.
He has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.
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