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Published On: Thu, May 22nd, 2014

Maryland pastor, Nate Morales, guilty on child molestation charges

A Maryland jury found a former pastor guilty of molesting three teenage boys decades ago and now faces nearly a lifetime in prison.

Nathaniel "Nate" Morales

Nathaniel “Nate” Morales

Nathaniel “Nate” Morales, 56, was found guilty on five counts of child molestation dating back to the late 1980s and early 1990s, ending a long and emotional case. The pastoral team at Covenant Life Church was also under scrutiny for not contacting authorities and properly warning the congregation.

Reportedly the abuse was made known several years later, but they did not report the allegations to the police in the mid 1990s. Morales disappeared shortly after his victims told their parents what was going on, but he later went on to work as a pastor in Las Vegas and married a woman with five sons from a previous relationship.

During the trial, former Covenant Life pastor Grant Layman admitted he should have reported what he knew.

“Did you have an obligation to report the alleged abuse,” public defender Alan Drew, who represented Morales, asked during cross-examination. “I believe so,” Layman replied. “And you didn’t,” Drew followed-up. “No,” Layman said.

In a statement issued after the verdict, state officials said abuse in the church is particularly heinous. “Sexually abusing boys who trust you because of your prominence in your faith community is unforgivable,” said Ramon Korionoff, spokesman for the state attorney’s office. “These grown men have shown a lot of courage to come forward in reporting these incidents of sexual abuse during their childhoods. It lets other victims of abuse in our community know that they can come forward and justice will be served.”

Morales now faces up to 85 years in prison. A sentence hearing is set for Aug. 14.

 

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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