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UCCtruths

Every denomination needs one of these...

Prominent UCC minister admits he sexually assaulted teen

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

As a follow-up on a story posted last year, Rev. Dr. Angel Toro has now admitted to sexually assaulting a teenager more than 20 years ago. From the St. Petersburg Times:
A former Seminole minister pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges that he sexually assaulted a teenage boy in Wisconsin more than 20 years ago, but some members of his congregation still believe he is innocent.

At a hearing in Barron, Wis., Angel Toro, 57, acknowledged the charges and said that the assault was a mistake and an isolated incident, according to the Leader-Telegram in Wisconsin. As Toro apologized, the now 38-year-old victim walked out of the courtroom.

Toro, who resigned from a Seminole church in 2007, will serve 18 months in jail, receive three years of probation and be registered nationally as a sex offender, according to the Leader-Telegram.

Toro was pastor at First United Methodist Church in Rice Lake, Wis., in 1987, when he assaulted the teenager at the church, authorities say.

Toro resigned as pastor of Chapel on the Hill United Church of Christ in Seminole, FL last year after the charges were filed.

Toro was recruited by the Florida Conference in 1997 to turn around Chapel on the Hill and claimed that he grew the church from 30 members to 400 (although the UCC.org directory cites only 202 members). Toro was touted throughout the UCC as a "success story" and was a featured speaker at local church and conference meetings. Toro was also an active member of the UCC's Stillspeaking Task group. Toro was reportedly featured in the original version of the UCC's 50th Anniversary DVD last year but sources within the national office claim that the DVD's were recalled just after he was charged. A new version of the DVD was quietly released that did not include Toro.

Toro has not been accussed of anything while serving Chapel on the Hill but questions about how Toro was hired remain. According to WQOW TV in Eau Claire, WI (story link no longer online), "Angel Toro was charged with indecent exposure in Florida in 1994" to which he plead no contest.

Amazingly, some people in his church continue to support Toro:
"We will support him and hope that he can come through this turmoil in good shape because he's a good man," said Jeanne Pugh, 84, who is a member of the congregation Toro used to lead. "It's just a tragedy."
Yeah... a "good man" who only admitted to sexually abusing a teenager.
posted by UCCtruths, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

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