Accused pastor gets plea deal

- In December, four young parishioners came forward and told a judge that Pastor Francisco Rios did bad things to them in his church office.

"He kissed my neck,” said one alleged victim. 

Another young girl says Rios told her sex was good for her.

All the young accusers testified Pastor Rios was like a second father to them; they trusted him and he took advantage of it.

"He would take me to the office,” said another accuser.  “One time, he touched my private area.”

Rios was the head of the Brandon church Casa de Amor.  He was set to go to trial this week, but suddenly decided to plead no contest. 

The state reduced the charges against Rios to three counts of sexual battery.  He's been ordered to stay away from the victims and his days as a spiritual leader are over, explained Hillsborough Assistant State Attorney Courtney Derry.

"He shall not work for pay, or in any official capacity, as a pastor, preacher, minister, or any other religious leader," said Derry.

Under the deal, Rios will skip jail time and do seven years of probation.
 

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