A Clinton pastor has been arrested on sex assault charges after having "unwanted sexual contact" with a woman and teenage girl who attend the Good Samaritan Church in Old Lyme, according to police.
According to police, Francisco Moran, 57, inappropriately touched the female parishioners on two separate occasions at a home in Clinton during the summer of 2014. Police said he lured them to the house on the pretense of church business.
He threatened to deport them if they told anyone, according to police.
"It's my understanding the majority of the parishioners are of Hispanic origin, coming from Central and South American countries, some of which may be here illegally," explained Clinton police spokesman Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn.
Both victims reported the unwanted contact to Clinton police, who launched an investigation.
"Several weeks ago, we had a victim come forward and reported that she was the victim of inappropriate sexual contact," Dunn said. "She alleged her pastor was the one who committed it."
Police said they're prepared for the possibility more victims will approach them.
Moran was arrested Thursday on two warrants charging him with two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, two counts of coercion and one count of risk of injury to/impairing the morals of a minor. He's being held on $17,500 bond and is due in court Monday morning.
Parishioners said the news of Moran's arrest came as a shock.
"I wouldn't expect him to get arrested for that because he's such a good pastor and such a good person," said 15-year-old churchgoer Juan Avila. "We went there with him and he was pretty much the person who got us into our religion."
Dunn said the question of the victims' immigration status isn't one for his department to decide.
"We're the local police. We do not investigate immigration status. If someone comes here as a victim of sexual assault, we will investigate it thoroughly," he said.
It's not clear if Moran has an attorney.