Alleged victims of Pastor Rios testify for judge

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Pastor Francisco Rios was like a father figure to some of his young parishioners at the Casa de Amor Church in Brandon.

But four teenage girls say the pastor turned into a predator behind closed doors.

Three of the alleged victims testified in court Friday. A judge will decide if they will be allowed to testify in each others' court proceedings against Rios.

"One time, he touched my private area," said one girl.

Three victims testified Pastor Rios gained their trust and then molested them in the church office and at church events. 

"He touched me in my private part over my bathing suit," said another girl.

One girl was as young as 12-years-old.

"He put me on the desk and started kissing my neck," said young girl.

Another, speaking through an interpreter said Rios told her the sex acts would make her happy and feel better.

"Because he told me he was trying to help me. That's when he touched be in front and behind," one of them testified.

But under cross examination, one of the girls, who suffers from a mental disability, said her memory is hazy and could not be sure the touching was intentional.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ashley Moody heard all of this testimony because prosecutors want all four victims to testify in each others' trials, but defense attorney Kevin Napper says that's like stacking the deck against his client.

"This evidence could confuse or mislead the jury," Napper said.

While Pastor Rios waits for the judge's ruling, he remains on bond and prepares his first of four trials to come.