Pastor Rios victims to testify at each others' trials

- Pastor Francisco Rios will not only have to face one of his accusers during his trial - but a total of three.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ashley Moody ruled each alleged victim could testify in each others' trials. But she is limiting what they can and can't say.

Legal expert Anthony Rickman says there's no doubt the jury will be left with a bad impression of the pastor, regardless of what the victims say.

"These jurors are human and if your parade three people on the stand to say this defendant touched them the same way that he touched this victim, the deck seems to be stacked against him," said Rickman.

At a hearing in December, each young parishioner testified that they loved Pastor Rios. At one time, they said, he was like a father figure to them. But that changed, behind closed doors, in his church office.

One girl was 12-years-old when the alleged abuse happened.

"One time he touched my private area," said the accuser.

But Rios' attorney challenged the memory of  another accuser, suggesting it was all just a misunderstanding.

The judge excluded this girl's testimony, but the defense will have its work cut out for them when three others tell their story to a jury. 

Pastor Rios is back in court in February. His trial is set to start In June.

 App Store Get it on Google Play

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In – includes Advertiser Stories