FBI: Central Florida evangelist molested girls

Published On: May 18 2012 06:16:57 AM EDT
Updated On: May 18 2012 07:07:51 AM EDT

An Ormond Beach minister who is called "Apostle Tito" by his followers has been arrested on allegations of sexually molesting several children.

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. -

An Ormond Beach minister who is called "Apostle Tito" by his followers has been arrested for sexually molesting several children who are members of his religious organization.

Luis Morales is being held in federal custody without bond following an arraignment in federal court Thursday afternoon.

According to federal prosecutors, Morales repeatedly had sex with a 12-year-old Florida girl in his Ormond Beach home and while on a trip with her to Connecticut in 2009. The government also claims Morales molested a 13-year-old girl from Arizona whom he took to the U.S. Virigin Islands.

Morales founded a religious organization called "En Fuego For Jesus" in Ormond Beach in 2003. According to its website, the group began by ministering to homeless in Daytona Beach, and now ministers in churches throughout Central and South America.

Morales's wife, who is known by followers as "Prophet Linda," was in court as a judge rejected her husband's request to be set free on bond while awaiting trial.

Before the proceedings began, Linda Morales pointed to the parents of her husband's alleged victims sitting across the aisle from her and told them, "You need to repent. Get right with Jesus."

Outside the courthouse after the arraignment, Linda Morales insisted that her husband was innocent.

"Satan is the accuser of the brethren. So anybody that makes an accusation against a man or woman of God is on Satan's team," she said.

Another member of Morales's ministry, Rebecca Rivera, has also been arrested on federal charges of trafficking a child for sex.

Prosecutors say Morales has molested at least two other children inside the couple's Ormond Beach home but is not currently facing criminal charges for those alleged offenses.

In the late 1980s, Morales served time in prison for a drug conviction, according to prosecutors. In 1998, he was arrested on suspicion of committing a sex offense against two other children, ages 8 and 11, but federal officials say state prosecutors dropped the charges.

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