September 8, 2017
A Menlo Park church pastor was arrested on suspicion of six counts of sexual assault, including sexual acts involving children.
Police confirmed that 47-year-old Victor Elizandro Tax-Gomez of East Palo Alto was arrested earlier this summer after an interview at the Menlo Park Police Department. The pastor was booked into San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of the following charges:
- Sexual penetration with a foreign object of a juvenile under 16;
- Sexual penetration with a foreign object of a juvenile;
- Sexual penetration with a foreign object of an adult;
- Committing a lewd act with a child under 14;
- Committing a lewd act with a child under 15; and
- Meeting with a minor with the intent to commit a lewd act.
Tax-Gomez is a pastor at the El Señor Justicia Nuestra Church in Menlo Park. The church currently rents space for its services inside another church on Chico Street in the city, according to the Menlo Park Police.
There was no statement from church officials about the arrest.
It wasn’t immediately clear where the alleged assault occurred or if the incidents involved parishioners at the church, but Police Commander Dave Bertini said they believe the majority of the (crimes) occurred at the church.
Menlo Park Police are not looking for other suspects but are seeking additional witnesses and additional victims. Detectives were alerted to the case after several victims came forward and told them about inappropriate acts allegedly committed by Tax-Gomez.
Police say that Tax-Gomez allegedly sexually assaulted both adults and children.
Pastor Also Has Immigration Issues
The pastor was also of interest by agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.
According to ICE spokesperson James Schwab, Tax-Gomez has also used the last name Oliveros-Cano and was using that name when he was arrested in July 2003 by border patrol agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency after trying to illegally enter the U.S.
“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.
According to Detective Salvador Zuno of the Sheriff’s Office, it wasn’t known if Tax-Gomez immigrated illegally to the U.S. because the agency doesn’t check immigration status.
Child Abuse in Religious Organizations
Abuse and religious organizations should not be intertwined, and if sexual abuse by clergy members occurs against a minor, the organization should take action to remove the person from his or her position. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. If your child has been violated, you need to take action. Start by contacting an experienced attorney at our firm.
If your child or loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse in a religious order, the sexual abuse attorneys at The Cifarelli Law Firm can provide aggressive representation that is discreet, confidential, and committed to making things right. If a priest or clergy member you trusted has inappropriate relations with your child, get help by contacting our law firm. We will work to hold that person accountable.