LYNN, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com/AP) - The pastor of an evangelical church in Lynn has pleaded not guilty to child rape and sexual assault charges.
Daniel Lopez, pastor of the Vida Real Internacional Congregation, was released on $25,000 bail after his arraignment Tuesday in Lynn District Court on charges of rape of a child with force and multiple counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.
Authorities allege that the 62-year-old Lopez sexually assaulted five children under the age of 9 and also raped one of the children between 2004 and 2008. Their families came forward in March.
All of the children lived in the same Lynn home and are siblings and cousins of one another. They told police similar accounts of how it would happen.
FOX 25's Heather Hegedus spoke with one of the victims Wednesday night, as well as several parents of the victims. They say it is a difficult and confusing situation because this is a man they trusted.
One child reportedly told police Lopez would "tell her not to tell her mom and dad" and would "try to bribe her with money."
The victims told police they tried to tell their parents at the time, but they didn't believe them. One of the parents said her daughter must have been "dreaming" she was abused, saying she didn't believe them because of the "young ages of the children and the way in which they disclosed this information."
Police say the children were touched above and below their clothing.
A relative of Lopez denied the allegations. When asked if she thought the children were making up the allegations, the relative responded, "Yeah, but you know, kids will be kids and the justice will come from God."
The Daily Item reports that Lopez's lawyer said his client "absolutely maintains his innocence and absolutely denies these allegations."