“During that counseling session, he would perform certain acts with them in the name of God, telling them that the acts that he’s performing would help them in their problems, whatever they are having, and would sexually molest them,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Al Garcia told KABC-TV.
“He claimed to have healing hands and utilized that process to eventually sexually assault them,” sheriff’s Capt. Robert Esson told the Los Angeles Times.
Many of the women were Spanish-speakers who were in the country illegally, according to a Sheriff’s Department statement.
Castro allegedly exploited their vulnerability by threatening to expose them to public ridicule and have them deported, the statement said.
Castro also was an associate pastor at a church in Riverside County, but there are no known victims there, investigators said.