By Newsweek |

Pastor Confronted by Congregants Over His Behavior Before Sex Crime Arrest

A pastor in Las Vegas suspected of child sex offenses was confronted by his congregants about the allegations months before he was arrested.

Fermin Rangel-Ramos, 52, the presiding pastor of the Iglesia Centro Cristiano Bethel church in the 3600 block of Vegas Drive, was arrested by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) on August 11 on suspicion of a string of offenses, including ones involving children.

According to Rangel-Ramos' arrest warrant, seen by the Las Vegas Sun, a church meeting attended by about 60 congregants took place in April, in which he was confronted about his alleged crimes.

During the meeting, 11 women and girls, aged between 15 and 23, leveled abuse allegations at Rangel-Ramos.

One girl claimed that the pastor attempted to kiss her after pulling over in a car, before instructing the girl not to tell her parents about it. The girl did inform her mother and father, although it was not reported to police, the arrest warrant states.

Another girl told police that she was aware of others who claimed Rangel-Ramos touched them in "uncomfortable situations," such as kissing them near their lips or placing his hand on their waist.

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One woman said that Rangel-Ramos inappropriately touched her breasts on three separate occasions.

"[Redacted] explained these repeated incidents made her fear Pastor Rangel and she no longer wanted to [greet] him, out of fear he would again touch her breast," the warrant added.

As reported by KLAS, Rangel-Ramos denied the allegations and "refused to leave his position," before later saying he would quit.

"After the girls spoke, Pastor Rangel said he was sorry, said he would quit being the pastor, and he left the church," police stated.

One of the alleged victims' fathers reported the allegations to the LVMPD the following day.

When officers questioned him at his home on June 24, Rangel-Ramos denied groping his accusers, suggesting that "maybe by accident" he would squeeze them during greetings.

Rangel-Ramos has been charged with two felony counts of lewdness with a child between the ages of 14 and 15, and three gross misdemeanor counts of lewdness. He was booked into the Clark County Detention Center.

Police believe there may still be more victims and have urged them to come forward.

Rangel-Ramos' attorney, Dewayne A. Nobles, denied the allegations against his client.

"Mr. Rangel-Ramos categorically denies these accusations and we look forward to employing a very strong defense addressing these falsehoods," Nobles told KSNV.

Rangel-Ramos is due to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on November 4.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Metro's sex crimes bureau at 702-828-3421. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 or crimestoppersofnv.com.

Fermin Rangel-Ramos

Pastor Fermin Rangel-Ramos, 52, was taken into custody on August 11 on multiple warrants, including lewdness with a child. LAPD