“A former pastor was sentenced to eight years in prison for molesting three victims between September 2011 and May 2015, San Mateo County prosecutors said Monday.
Victor Tax-Gomez, 50, also known as Ever Oliveros-Cano, was a pastor for Senor Justicia Nuestra Church in Menlo Park, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.
When the victims were 13, 15 and 17, Tax-Gomez committed the crimes while claiming to be praying with or cleansing the victims at the church, prosecutors said. Two of the victims were sisters and a third was a friend.
Two years later, one of the victims told a therapist that the crime had happened and the therapist reported it to Menlo Park police.
Tax-Gomez was arrested on June 1, 2017.
Two victims presented a victim’s impact statement during the sentencing hearing on Friday.
Judge Donald Ayoub denied probation and sentenced Tax-Gomez to eight years in prison, lifetime registration as a sex offender and ordered him to have no contact with the victims.
District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe confirmed that Tax-Gomez will be deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the end of the jail sentence.”
Pastor Suspected Of Sex Assaults Detained By ICE
“After spending a little more than a day at the San Mateo County jail, the pastor of a Menlo Park church arrested on suspicion of sexual assault of children as young as 13 was picked up June 2 by agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.
Victor Elizandro Tax-Gomez, 47, from East Palo Alto, is a pastor at the El Senor Justicia Nuestra Church, located in the 1300 block of Chilco Street in Menlo Park. The church leases space in another church at that location, police said.
According to Detective Salvador Zuno of the Sheriff’s Office, Mr. Tax-Gomez was booked into the county jail on Thursday, June 1, around 11:40 a.m. and released after posting bail the following day around 7:20 p.m.
He said that the Sheriff’s Office had responded to a request by ICE agents to learn Mr. Tax-Gomez’s release date. The agents showed up at the jail, where custody of Mr. Tax-Gomez was transferred at a secure area inside the jail.
According to ICE spokesperson James Schwab, Mr. Tax-Gomez has also used the last name Oliveros-Cano. He was using that name when he was previously arrested in July 2003 by border patrol agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency after he attempted to illegally enter the U.S., Mr. Schwab said.
“He has been placed in removal proceedings and it will now be up to a judge with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review to determine whether he has a lawful basis to remain in the United States,” he said in a statement.
The Sheriff’s Office does not know whether Mr. Tax-Gomez immigrated illegally to the U.S. because the agency does not check immigration status, Detective Zuno said.
When someone is arrested, that person’s fingerprints go into a nationwide system.
“Very often, that is how the immigration authorities learn that somebody might be someone they’re looking for,” said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe in an interview.
Mr. Tax-Gomez was arrested on suspicion of several acts of sexual assault after three alleged victims, all female, reported the alleged incidents to the police.
According to Mr. Wagstaffe, the three alleged victims were attendees at the church and were ages 13, 15 and 17 at the time of the alleged assaults.
The assaults allegedly took place at the church facility, in the church office and at a small house next to the church between September 2011 and May 2015, he said.
Mr. Tax-Gomez has been charged by the District Attorney’s Office with seven felony counts: several counts of digital penetration in addition to sexual battery and child molestation, he said.
According to Mr. Wagstaffe, Mr. Tax-Gomez remains in federal custody for now, but his office plans to ask for an increase in bail so that he returns to county custody to continue the prosecution process. Mr. Tax-Gomez’s bail had previously been set at $100,000. His next court date is Tuesday, July 11.”