ROCKVILLE – Detectives from the Montgomery County Police (MCP) Special Victims Investigations Division (SVID) arrested and charged a Gaithersburg man who worked as a pastor at a local church with multiple sexual offenses, spokesperson Rebecca Innocenti said.
The detectives charged 42-year-old Octavio Cantarero of the 24300 block of Hilton Place in Gaithersburg in connection with sexual abuse of a minor, along with other sexual offenses, after he turned himself in to police on Sept. 21.
MCP charged him with sexual offenses “to include a fourth-degree sexual offense (sexual contact) and attempted second-degree rape, against a minor,” Innocenti said. “Cantarero is a Pastor at the Iglesia Pentecostal Principe De Paz which is located on Earhart Court in Gaithersburg.”
The accuser, a juvenile female who was a congregant of the church where Cantarero served, told police the alleged crimes occurred in January. She reported the incident in May.
Detectives determined Cantarero allegedly told her she was too young to live alone and that she could lodge at a room in the church. On Jan. 16, 2019, he allegedly showed her a room with a bed and said the two of them would sleep there.
She told police she woke up to the suspect attempting to rape her.
“Cantarero asked the victim not to tell anyone about the incident and that he could help pay for her clothes, rent and school,” Innocenti said. “He also stated that her demons had provoked him.”
Detectives ask that anyone who believes they may have been abused by Cantarero or that he may have victimized their child to contact SVID at 240-773-5400.
A phone call to Iglesia Pentecostal Principe De Paz was not returned before deadline.
Cantarero is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at Montgomery County District Court on Oct. 18. As of Sept. 24, he has been held without bond.