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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2010

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

Pastor Pleads Gulity to Endangering Welfare of a Minor

The pastor of a Newark church pled guilty this morning in Superior Court in connection with a case that involved an affair with a congregant where the pair forced two teenage girls to videotape the trysts.

Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow announced that Moises Cotto DOB: 11/29/1954 of 275 Prospect Street in East Orange pled guilty to two counts of 2nd Degree endangering the welfare of a minor.

Under the terms to the plea he will serve 14 years in prison, said Assistant Prosecutor David Hummel, who prosecuted the case. Upon his release, Cotto must register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be placed on parole supervision for life.

Cotto was arrested in May 2010 along with one of his parishioners, Brenda Pabon DOB: 2/27/1973 of Middlesex County. 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 Hummel. 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. Cotto was also affiliated with Yahweh Congregations in Jersey City and Paterson.

While at the motel they allegedly forced two teenage girls to videotape them engaged in sexual acts, said Hummel. The meetings at the motel continued until May 2010 when one of the teenage victims told a parent about the abuse, which allegedly occurred several times a week, said Hummel.

Cotto has been held at the Union County Jail on $1.3 million bail since his arrest. Sentencing is scheduled for January 8, 2011. Pabon is being held on $750,000 bail and her case is still pending.

“This is a man who violated all the values and beliefs that he swore to live by for a life of lies and deceit ” said Romankow.

Romankow commended Det. Patricia Gusmano of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and Det. Daniel Sadowski of the Linden Police Department for their thorough work and sensitivity during the investigation.