MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Bond was denied Wednesday for a South Florida pastor arrested on a sexual battery charge on a child.
Jose Tomas Campos,60, was arrested Tuesday. The alleged incident actually happened last April, but police said they weren’t informed about it for six months.
Campos is accused of molesting an 11-year-old girl whose parents he knew through the Ministerio Nueva Vida En Cristo Jesus Church in Miami, located at 124 NW 15th Avenue.
If convicted of this crime, a spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office said Campos would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
“He had access to the kid because the family trusted Mr. Campos and he had access as a pastor,” said Miami police spokesman Commander Delrish Moss. “The child and parents are members of the church.”
The arrest affidavit states the 11-year-old girl told friends at school she had fallen asleep in Campos’ car and when she woke up, he had his hand in her underwear and he was fondling her.
“Mr. Campos originally denied this then said he accidentally touched her. I don’t know how you accidentally fondle a child under her clothing,” Moss told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “Mister Campos had no business putting his hand where he did.”
During his first bond hearing on Wednesday, he was denied bond and appointed a public defender.
George Portuondo, who lives in an apartment behind the church, told D’Oench that he thinks Campos will be cleared of the charges.
“He’s a good man, always, I have know him for years,” said Portuondo. “I tell you he is a good pastor, he is a Christian,” said Portuondo.
Campos has also denied touching any other members of his congregation.
“There may be other kids out there who are victims and who are physically and mentally scarred by his actions,” said Moss. “A lot of times when these incidents happen, children aren’t sure who they can talk and who they can trust. We urge parents to get more involved and teachers to act quickly and tell the authorities when they see such problems.”
“It’s unfortunate that it took the child so long in this case to speak to someone who then called the authorities,” said Moss.
The Miami Police Department’s Special Victims Unit are investigating the case and detectives are urging anyone with information on any additional victims to contact them at (305) 603-6300 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.