Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pastor and 14-yr-old
Teen tells of sex with pastor

WORCESTER — The Rev. Angel Morales’ accuser took the witness stand yesterday afternoon and told a Worcester Superior Court jury that she and the former pastor of the church — which she and her family attended three times a week — had sex on three occasions when she was 14 years old.

The girl, now 15, testified that Rev. Morales, 32, of 1A Goddard St., Fitchburg, was pastor of the Casa de Restauracion church at 134 Spruce St., Leominster, when the sexual relations began. She said she and Rev. Morales, who is on trial on three counts of child rape aggravated by age difference, engaged in sexual intercourse once in her Leominster home and twice at the Motel 6 in Leominster in late 2009 and early 2010.

In his opening statement in the case, Assistant District Attorney Anthony J. Marotta said he expected the evidence to show that Rev. Morales admitted when questioned by police that he had sex with the underage girl.

“As you all know, the truth is often not as simple as it sometimes seems,” Rev. Morales’ lawyer, Leonard J. Staples, told the jury in his opening statement. Mr. Staples made reference to what he described as “inconsistent statements” by the teenager and reminded the jurors that the burden was on the prosecution to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The girl testified that Rev. Morales befriended her and her family after they began attending his church and that they occasionally visited each other’s homes. Her relationship with the pastor seemed to change after she turned 13, she said.

“I saw him look at me with different eyes,” she told the jury.

Shortly after her 14th birthday, she said, Rev. Morales kissed her on the lips for the first time and then began telling her he loved her in daily text messages.

The first time they had sex was on Nov. 18, 2009, when Rev. Morales came to her home while her parents and sister were at work, according to the teen. On two other occasions, she sneaked out of her house during the early morning hours and went with Rev. Morales to the motel, where they had sex, she said.

When she was caught by her parents after sneaking out to meet Rev. Morales a third time, the girl initially said she had been having sex with a 17-year-old boy, but later identified Rev. Morales as her partner, according to Mr. Marotta.

Mr. Staples is scheduled to cross-examine the girl when the trial resumes this morning.

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