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Minister faces assault charges

By WAVENEY ANN MOORE and SHERRI DAY
Published March 29, 2007


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SEMINOLE - Wisconsin authorities have filed sexual assault charges against a local pastor, the Rev. Angel Toro, who resigned from Chapel on the Hill United Church of Christ a few days ago.

Toro, 56, is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy in 1987, when he was a minister with the United Methodist Church in Wisconsin.

Chris Fitzgerald, a detective with the Rice Lake Police Department in Wisconsin, said investigations into the allegations began in late 2005.

The complaint alleges that Toro assaulted the teenager twice at First United Methodist Church in Rice Lake, about two hours from Minneapolis.

Toro has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and two counts of child enticement. Reached on his cell phone, Toro said his lawyers had advised him not to comment.

Bruce Denson, his attorney, said Toro is devastated. "It's a false allegation," he said.

Douglas Guillen, 37, says he is the victim. Times policy generally is to withhold the names of victims of sex crimes. In this case, Guillen consented to being identified.

The construction worker, who lives in Broward County, said he met Toro when the minister hired him to do odd jobs.

In 1997, Toro left the Methodist church and became a United Church of Christ minister and Chapel on the Hill's pastor.

The Rev. Jack Richards of the United Church of Christ Florida Conference said the denomination learned of a Pinellas investigation of Toro on Jan. 22. Toro resigned from Chapel on the Hill and the denomination March 19.

Richards said the denomination's investigation found no wrongdoing locally. The Pinellas Sheriff's Office has closed its investigation.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show that police arrested Toro for indecent exposure in 1994. He pleaded no contest.

Times researcher Angie Drobnic Holan contributed to this report. Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at 727 892-2283 or wmoore@sptimes.com.

[Last modified March 29, 2007, 01:35:32]


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