NEWARK, N.J. — A pastor accused of sexual offenses and child abuse against four parishioners is returning to court Friday after he fled the U.S. following his initial conviction and was found in Honduras.
Gregorio Martinez, 49, allegedly sexually abused a 13-year-old boy and three 19-year-old men while working as a pastor at various churches and leader of prayer groups in North Bergen, according to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. Martinez escaped from the U.S. after several charges were brought against him for the incidents, and he was detained by Honduran authorities in August.
Martinez was charged in February 2015 with one count of aggravated criminal sexual contact, one count of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of child abuse after it was found he had allegedly committed sexual offenses against a 13-year-old boy who was a church parishioner, according to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s office.
Before jury members could be selected for a case based on these initial charges, Martinez was charged with additional assault charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a 19-year-old man who was also a church attendee.
It was later found that Martinez also allegedly committed sexual offenses against two other 19-year-old men that he “spiritually counseled,” for which he was charged yet again with sexual assault.
Martinez failed to show up to a mandatory pre-sentencing interview following his conviction in the initial case, according to the Hudson County Prosecutor. Martinez then fled the U.S. and was tracked through Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras.
The pastor was detained by Honduran Law Enforcement on Aug. 16 in Danli, Honduras. He was returned to the U.S. on Aug. 20 where U.S. Customs and Border Control agents took custody of him in Miami. He’s been held in Miami until this week.
Martinez will now be sentenced for his conviction on sexual offenses against the 13-year-old boy and will also stand trial for additional sexual assault charges filed by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s office in 2015.