Cobb County church barred accused molester, pastor says

| February 14, 2012

A Cobb County pastor asked a volunteer accused of inappropriate contact with a student not to return to the church "immediately" after the allegation arose, the pastor told the AJC Tuesday.

The Rev. Mike Linch, senior pastor of NorthStar Church in Acworth, told the AJC he learned of the accusations against 25-year-old Cesar Pastrana two days after a weekend event held Feb. 3-5 for high school and middle school students.

"He denied the allegation, but we immediately released him as a volunteer in our ministry and asked him to not come back to NorthStar," Linch said in a one-page statement.

Church leaders at once contacted police, who began an investigation, Acworth police Chief Michael Wilkie said. Wilkie said his department asked Cobb County police, which has a Crimes Against Children unit, to assist.

Pastrana, who has a Kennesaw address, was arrested Friday evening and booked into Cobb County Jail, where he remained Tuesday without bond, booking records show.

The man is charged with two counts each of aggravated child molestation and child molestation, all felonies, according to jail records. Pastrana could face additional charges, police said.

As a volunteer, Pastrana was in contact with dozens of juveniles, the church said.

"We mandate that no volunteers, on NorthStar time, are ever alone with a student," Linch said.


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Category: Church Security

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