Last night the Richmond Outreach Center’s board of directors spoke out for the first time about why they fired Geronimo Aguilar. Could it maybe have had something to do with the fact that the church’s former senior pastor was suddenly facing felony charges in Texas for allegedly sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl and her 14-year-old sister?
Nope. Here’s the board'sstatement:
“After our former pastor was arrested related to charges in Texas, the Board of Directors became aware of his multiple extramarital affairs with members of our church and community. This Biblically disqualified him from the office of pastor and leadership of The ROC in any capacity. The Board of Directors is committed to providing godly leadership at all levels of ministry.”
Setting aside any quibbles about whether alleged affairs are more or less godly than alleged child molestation, the statement isn’t exactly a bombshell. Months ago two women, including Aguilar’s former personal assistant of 10 years -- spoke publicly on WRIC-TV8’s news broadcast about their affairs with Aguilar. And the board continued to stand by Aguilar after those broadcasts.
Even before the Texas charges started making headlines, the rumors of his infidelity were apparently persistent enough that Aguilar felt compelled to address them from the pulpit. From our July cover story on Aguilar and the church:
"He would say: 'You're going to hear a bunch of stuff and none of it's true, it's all just the work of the devil. I need people I can trust and you can trust me and we're brothers, so if you've got stuff to talk about, you can come to me,'" Ronnie Wright says. "But you really couldn't come to him."
So what prompted the board’s statement last night? “We have all been going through a time of grieving and hurt over the moral failings of our former Senior Pastor,” the statement says. “In light of continued questions regarding the departure of our former Senior Pastor, the Board of Directors would like to clarify the reason for the departure.”
Aguilar’s lawyer, David Carlson, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment. But in July he denied all rumors -- and there were lots of them -- that his client had been unfaithful to his wife. And when Style asked if Aguilar had any regrets about his time at the ROC, Carlson responded bluntly: “None.”
Now is as good a time as any to read our in-depth look at the church. It covers what life was like for parishioners -- many of whom left the church well before the scandal started making headlines. And it follows Aguilar’s life from California, where he joined his father’s controversial church as a teenager, to Texas, where the alleged child molestation took place, and finally to Richmond, where he started the ROC with the support of the local evangelical community.