EUSTIS, Fla. - Eustis police arrested a man known as "Pastor Pete" after they say he sexually battered women living in his faith-based shelter.
Pedro Custodio, owner and operator of Our Father's House of Refuge Ministries in Eustis, was charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count of attempted sexual battery after investigators said they were tipped off in May.
The house the women lived in was condemned in January. However, Custodio still lead worship at a church down the street every week.
"When I found out that his transitional home right around the corner was meeting in their driveway with the bugs in Florida and the heat and they were having a little church service in their driveway, I thought it would be right to open up our sanctuary to a group that was just starting like someone did for us," said Pastor Moses Robbins, who runs Revolution Church.
Robbins said "Pastor Pete" was married with several children and that his wife has reached out to them to help.
"On Sunday evenings he comes, his wife who is a lovely lady, she sings and he preaches and they've got, I don't know, four or five little beautiful kids and he's got, I don't know, probably 15 or 20 people that come," said Robbins of Custodio's congregation.
Police said a former female resident living in Custodio's transitional home reported that she had been sexually battered by Custodio. Upon further investigation, police said two additional victims, who were also former residents of Our Father's House of Refuge, also accused Custodio of sexual battery.
Custodio told police he had engaged or attempted to engage in sexual relations with all three women but said all of the sexual encounters were consensual.
Custodio was booked into the Lake County Jail on $30,000 bond but was released just before 8 p.m. Tuesday.
According to his website, Custodio founded Our Father's House of Refuge in 2010 and has 14 years of experience working with the homeless. Robbins said Custodio also runs a food pantry in Eustis that 150 people rely on every Wednesday.
Contact Eustis police at 352-483-5400 if you have information on similar incidents involving Custodio.
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