The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.
Gustavo Zamora, former pastor of Apostolic Assembly Church in Lindsay, California, was sentenced last Friday to twenty-five years in prison for six counts of lewd acts committed upon a child under the age of 14.
A pastor who worked in churches across the central San Joaquin Valley since the 1980s will spend 25 years to life in prison for molesting several girls. Gustavo Zamora, 69, was sentenced in Tulare County Superior Court on Friday for six counts of lewd acts committed upon a child under the age of 14. The crimes involved substantial sexual conduct, and each count is a felony considered as a strike offense, according to a statement Tuesday from the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office. Zamora pleaded no contest to each count and admitted the crimes occurred against more than one victim, which adds a special allegation.
The crimes are nearly 40 years old. According to the DA’s office, Zamora was a pastor at the Apostolic Assembly Church in Lindsay between 1984 and 2000, when he assaulted five girls. They were 4 and 14 years old at the time of the sexual assaults. The incidents occurred at the church and other locations within Tulare County.
Zamora was first confronted with allegations of abuse in 2000, though the crime was not reported at the time and Zamora left the church and disappeared. A comprehensive investigation was started after multiple adult victims came forward with new allegations between 2004 and 2020. Zamora was arrested in May or 2020 in Lodi, where we was still working as a pastor. “While it may be difficult for some to process such news, especially regarding someone in a position of trust, the bravery of these victims to come forward cannot be understated,” said Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward in the statement. “Their courage should be an example to anyone who has suffered such abuse.”
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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