RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It was the story that made headlines for more than two years. Last month, former Richmond Mega Church Pastor Geronimo Aguilar was guilty of sexually assaulting two young girls when he was their youth pastor in Fort Worth, Texas back in the 1990s.
Nancy Mohr one of the victims spoke exclusively with 8News immediately after the verdict was read.
“I am so thankful to the jury I am so thankful to everybody who sat and listened, believed us for the first time,” she said.
For Mohr and her sister Lani Vallejo, both victims, said the guilty verdict brought a sense of closure and vindication.
Vallejo told 8News, “I just didn’t think this day would ever come.”
The verdict also brought a sense of calm to the thousands of former ROC parishioners who felt hurt, lost and lied to.
“It was a sense of peace, he can’t harm anyone else,” said Mandy Mansfield, a former ROC parishioner.
“This was a bad man and one thing the Bible says, ‘you reap what you sow,'” said former ROC Pastor Allen Caldwell.
But how did it come to this? Aguilar was once a rising leader who would preach to 10,000 parishioners on weekly basis.
What led up to the guilty verdict? How did the story unfold and how did 8News investigate the allegations?
It began with a tip and then a phone call and an interview.
8News spent six months digging though police reports and allegations before ever going to air with the story.
When parishioners stood in front of the former ROC Church in protest of their pastor, Pastor G, on April 29, 2013 8News exposed what Kerri O’Brien had uncovered.
Aguilar and his lawyers denied the allegations.
Yet 24 hours later, Fort Worth, Texas police were investigating. Soon, Aguilar was arrested and charged with felony sex assault on two sisters. The sisters, now grown women, alleged the abuse began when they were just 11 and 13.
Many rallied by their Pastor, publicly defending him.
However, once the first story hit the air, 8News was flooded with phones calls from others who wanted to come forward with allegations of abuse.
Amid pressure and scandal Aguilar would resign from the church he founded.
Aguilar’s trial in Texas got underway in June of this year and it was filled with explosive testimony, stunning admissions, and big surprises.
The victims recounted the abuse.
Several former ROC parishioners testified to affairs with the married pastor.
Aguilar’s wife told the jury, “yeah he was a horrible husband.” However, Samantha Aguilar said he was no child molester.
Geronimo Aguilar took the stand in his own defense and said he never had sex with a minor.
His attorney’s argued there was no physical evidence linking him to the assaults.
The jury didn’t buy it and Aguilar was found guilty.
Juror Stephanie Rudy told 8News “It was just really clear who was telling the truth and who wasn’t.”
Vallejo said, “I hope that he can’t hurt anybody anymore.”
Mohr told 8News, “I am very thankful for how hard they worked and for all the ladies that came out because it wasn’t just about us.”
Aguilar is in Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth. He will be sentenced October 12.
For more Pastor G coverage, click here.