Pastor arrested on suspicion of rape

Portland police have arrested the 38-year-old pastor of a Northeast Portland church on accusations that he raped or sexually abused eight women at Father’s House, a church ministering to Portland’s Spanish-speaking population.

Sergio Alvarizares was arrested Monday at his home in Ridgefield, Wash., as part of a two-week investigation that started when officers responded to a disturbance call at Father’s House, 1725 Northeast Alberta St.

Sgt. Brian Schmautz, spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau, said all the women are younger than 45 and had contact with Alvarizares through the church.

“In some cases there’s physical coercion,” Schmautz said. “In some cases he used his position or authority in the church: ‘Hey, you need to come into my office for counseling.’ And then he’d get them into the office and the sex would occur.

“And in some cases he physically grabbed them,” Schmautz added.

He said Alvarizares is in the Clark County jail and sometime this week will be transferred to Multnomah County. In the indictment against Alvarizares, Schmautz said, bail is set at $2.9 million.

Northeast precinct officers arriving at Father’s House on Sept. 30 learned that several members of the church had confronted Alvarizares about allegations of improper sexual contact. Later that night, six women reported sexual assault to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. During the investigation, police identified two more victims.

Alvarizares is facing one count of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree attempted rape and 10 counts of first-degree sex abuse.

Schmautz said other than Alvarizares’ association with the church and the accusations, police know little about his background.

He has been quoted a number of times on issues of concern to the Latino community. In May 2006, he spoke about how some workers feared to march in demonstrations against a crack-down on immigrants.

“I talked to my congregation on Sunday,” Alvarizares said. “There were some who were intimidated by employers and afraid to leave their jobs.”

The church Web site, www.casadelpadre.com, says Alvarizares is founder and pastor of the international ministry El Shaddai in Portland and of El Shaddai churches of the Northwest U.S. and is now pastor general of the international ministry Casa del Padre Inc.

There are 1,268 congregations worldwide in a network called Red Apostolica & Profetica Mundial CDP, the Web site says, including in the U.S., Mexico, Central and South America, Cuba and India.

The Web site says Alvarizares is from Guatemala. His wife, Mayra, is listed as a pastor on the Web site.

In 2002, Alvarizares was senior pastor at Mission International El Shaddai on Northeast Sandy Boulevard. That year, he was part of a church group that planned to go to Cuba and Colombia to train church leaders and to visit Ecuador for a leadership conference.

The investigation continues. Police request anyone with information call Detective Jeff Sharp at 503-823-0453.

Source:
The Oregonian, USA
Oct. 17, 2007
Wade Nkrumah
www.oregonlive.com
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