A 45-year-old church deacon from Pennsylvania has been arrested this week for allegedly assaulting an underage girl.
According to local news site Lehighvalleylive.com, Jeronimo Maisonet of Monroe County, PA, was arrested on Sunday and charged with indecent assault of a person younger than 16 years old, unlawful contact with a minor, and the corruption of minors. Maisonet is accused of committing these crimes in his capacity as a deacon at the Church of God Holy Ground.
State police first began looking into Maisonet on October 18, after a young girl accused the man of assaulting her. During the investigation, authorities came to believe that Maisonet first began assaulting the unnamed victim in 2018 when she was just 14 years old.
The Christian Post reports that the anonymous accuser first met Maisonet when she began attending the Church of God Holy Ground in her freshman year of high school. She noted that Maisonet became increasingly interested in her and formed “extremely close” relationships with all of the kids who attended the church. The victim even recalled Maisonet telling the children things like “you belong to me,” the Pocono Record reports.
The church deacon also reportedly told the teenage victim that he was going to “leave his wife” so they could be together once she turned 18.
The teen further told authorities about one incident where Maisonet reportedly forced her to sit on his lap during worship while he had an erection. She also reported that he would take her to isolated parts of the church to grope and kiss her.
In their effort to arrest Maisonet, on Saturday, police wiretapped a phone call between the teenage victim and Maisonet. According to The Christian Post, during the call, the alleged assailant seemingly confessed to the crimes.
“He began stating that his life is a mess,” the Record reports authorities as saying. “He continually stated that he was ‘sorry’ and didn’t mean to hurt [the victim].”
Police now believe Maisonet may have assaulted other children as well and are looking for additional information.
If you have any information and/or are a victim of Maisonet, you can contact police at 570-619-6800 or email troopers Justin M. Leri at JLeri@pa.gov or Brittany Cutro at BCutro@pa.gov.
Photo courtesy: Pixabay
Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has written on her blog since 2012 and has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.