Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Ruben Garcia Accused of Sexually Assaulting a Child

ruben garcia

Ruben Garcia, associate pastor of Betania Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, was arrested on Monday and charged with ” two counts of sexual assault of a child and one count of indecency with a child by sexual contact.”

KXAN reports:

An associate pastor at Betania Baptist Church in east Austin is facing charges of sexual assault with a child. Church members say Garcia has played a big role at the small church for many years, including his role as the youth minister.

According to court documents, 59-year-old Ruben Garcia, of Buda, has been wanted by authorities for the past two months. Garcia was arrested by the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force on Monday, after investigations in Hays County and Nueces County resulted in charges.

“It took me and my family by surprise. It’s kind of heartbreaking if it’s true especially knowing he was around children at that time,” said one of the church members who asked to remain anonymous.

Garcia is being charged with two counts of sexual assault of a child and one count of indecency with a child by sexual contact. According to court documents, Garcia groped and assaulted a female child younger than 17 on three separate occasions in Hays County in 2013 and 2014.

“We just didn’t see it, that he would do something like that,” said the church member. “He was a nice guy, he was friendly. It’s kind of hard now knowing what he’s being charged with. Now I go back and question if he was true with who he was.”

This church member says Garcia was at the church as recently as last Sunday. He says the pastor was close with the children at the church, adding that he even attended summer camps as a counselor and invited the youth to stay at his home as a quick way to leave for camp.

“We had some of the families living down south. Some of the conversations were always an approval with the parents to allow the kids to sleep over at his house in Buda so that they could leave from there in the morning without having to face traffic and such for it,” he said.

Even though it’s unknown if the accusations are related to any church members or function, parishioners say it’s hard on everyone and hope no other families have been negatively impacted.

“We are all shocked and overwhelmed with what’s going on. From my understanding the conversation with those parents that had youth in the youth department with us at the same time, they have also talked to their kids and are asking them to step forward if anything inappropriate has ever happened,” said the church member.

“It was an individual that was taking advantage of a child and did some bad things and people shouldn’t hold the church responsible for the actions of that one individual.”

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3 Comments

  1. savana elia escobedo

    this is me savana it was me no one had to see anything everyone lives in there world see what they want to see you pray to a god a ‘higher’ power for the struggle of your daily life you look up to him you see him in his light moments a 13 year old girl saw the darkness living in the shadows i still am fighting its just been hard latley but i’ve found love he takes it away i never really understood why my aunt diana s husband Ruben did that in his own home were the people he held close to his heart in his church my grandmothers house a man who people look up to worship with him this is my world and i dont pray to nothing higher than me i belive in myself to forget this i wont let anyone hurt that

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Thank you for commenting.

      Reply
  2. sgl

    Hi Savana,

    I’m not sure I understand what you’ve written clearly, but it sounds like you are somewhat related to the accused pastor, and were perhaps abused yourself. Please forgive me if I’ve misunderstood what you’ve written.

    First, I’m sorry for what you’re going through. You did nothing to deserve this. (No victim is ever at fault.)

    Second, I hope you’re able to find support and counselling, and have the courage to seek that support out.

    Third, there are several people who comment here on Bruce’s blog that I think experienced abuse as children or young adults. I hope some of them will comment as well, as they can more directly understand what you’re going through, and probably have a much better idea what support services are available to you. You can probably work with Bruce (the blog owner here) so you can have private communication with these people rather than posting publicly on this blog.

    Once again, I’m sorry for what you’ve gone through, (assuming my understanding of what you wrote is correct). You did not deserve that abuse, and it’s entirely not your fault at all. I wish the best in finding support and healing.

    Reply

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