by CHRIS ROGERS
A former Winona pastor was charged late last week with criminal sexual conduct for allegedly abusing a minor. The Winona County Attorney’s Office charged Rick Diego Iglesias, 64, with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual assault, including heightened charges because Iglesias held a position of authority over the victim.
In late July, Winona Police Department investigators interviewed the alleged victim, who reported that he or she was repeatedly abused and raped over roughly three years, from 2010 to 2012, according to the criminal complaint.
Iglesias served as the senior pastor at Winona’s Pleasant Valley Church from 1994 to 2014 and more recently worked as a pastor in Mars, Penn. In a statement, Pleasant Valley Church Senior Pastor Chad Ellenburg called the news “devastating.” He wrote, “We are heartbroken for [Iglesias’] wife, Nancy, and son, Brennan, as we cannot imagine the pain and devastation they are experiencing at this time. We are also hurting for the victim, but thankful that they had the courage to come forward. We are praying for them as well as anyone who might be affected here at Pleasant Valley or in this community.”
“We are also deeply grieved that our former pastor, by his actions and deception, failed to faithfully represent Jesus Christ and his Gospel,” Ellenburg continued. “We have done, and will continue to do, everything we can to fully cooperate with the authorities. We will also continue to support and pray for the family, the victim, and those who will carry the responsibility of pursuing justice in this situation.”
The crimes Iglesias is accused of are felonies punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison each.
Iglesias is not in custody; a judge ordered him to appear in court next month. The criminal complaint listed addresses for Iglesias in Arizona and Pennsylvania.