The Union County Prosecutor’s Office
32 Rahway Avenue   Elizabeth, NJ 07202
Theodore J. Romankow
Prosecutor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2010

Contact: John Holl
(908) 527-4621 jholl@ucnj.org

Newark Pastor Charged With Kidnapping, Attempted Aggravated Sexual Assault

Moises Cotto DOB: 11/29/1954 of 275 Prospect Street in East Orange: charged with three counts of kidnapping, one count of 2nd Degree attempted aggravated assault; one count of 2nd Degree attempted aggravated sexual assault and three counts of endangering the welfare of a minor.

The pastor of a Newark church and one of his congregants were arrested earlier this week and face a variety of charges after it was revealed that they forced teenage girls to videotape the pair engaged in sexual acts, announced Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
 
Moises Cotto DOB: 11/29/1954 of 275 Prospect Street in East Orange was arrested on Monday night. He is charged with three counts of kidnapping, one count of 2nd Degree attempted aggravated assault; one count of 2nd Degree attempted aggravated sexual assault and three counts of endangering the welfare of a minor.
 
Brenda Pabon DOB: 2/27/1973 of Middlesex County is charged with three counts of kidnapping and three counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, said Romankow.

 

According to the investigation, Pabon was a member of Cotto’s parish, the Congregation Yahweh located at 20 Chester Avenue in Newark, where she sought counseling from the pastor, said Romankow. Beginning in 2008 Pabon and Cotto began an affair that was sexual in nature and would regularly meet at the Benedict Motel on Routes 1 & 9 in Linden.
 
While at the motel they allegedly forced two teenage girls to videotape them engaged in sexual acts and on several occasions they forced at least one girl to undress and pose in pictures with the pastor, said Romankow.
 
The investigation also revealed that during at least one of the meetings at the motel, the Pastor allegedly attempted to sexually assault one of the girls, who resisted.
 
The meetings at the motel continued until about two weeks ago when one of the teenage victims told a parent about the abuse, which allegedly occurred several times a week, said Romankow.
 
An investigation was immediately launched and Cotto was arrested on Monday at his home. He is currently being held at the Union County Jail on $1.3 million bail. Pabon surrendered to local authorities on Tuesday afternoon and is being held on $750,000 bail.
 
Cotto also affiliated with Yahweh Congregations in Jersey City and Paterson.
 
The investigation was handled by Det. Patricia Gusmano of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and Det. Daniel Sadowski of the Linden Police Department.
 
This remains an active investigation and anyone with additional information is urged to contact Det. Gusmano at (908) 965-3809.

 

These criminal charges are mere accusations.
The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.