Broward Church Leader Charged With Molesting Girl

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Associated Press Release

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Authorities say a church leader has been charged with molesting a 9-year-old girl from his congregation.

The Broward Sheriff's Office reports 29-year-old Maher Jair Ortega-Estevez was arrested Tuesday in Deerfield Beach.

According to investigators, Ortega-Estevez was a volunteer leader at the Assembly of God Bethlehem Ministry in Hollywood. He allegedly invited the victim and her family to his Deerfield Beach home on Oct. 6. During that visit, he is accused of fondling the girl in his bedroom.

The girl told her parents who then notified police.

Ortega-Estevez has been charged with lewd or lascivious molestation.

Detectives believe there may be other victims. Anyone with information can contact BSO Sex Crimes Det. Michele McCardle at 954-321-4261 or Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

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