Photo: Winona County Jail.
Photo: Winona County Jail.
Updated: October 13, 2021 07:29 PM
Created: October 13, 2021 05:38 PM
A former Winona pastor who pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in July was sentenced to nine years in prison Wednesday.
Rick Iglesias, 66, was convicted of felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under age 16 — with multiple acts and a significant relationship — Wednesday, according to court filings. Three other felony criminal sexual conduct charges against him were dismissed in July after he filed his guilty plea.
Iglesias had been the senior pastor at Pleasant Valley Church since 1994.
According to a criminal complaint, a witness told police in July 2019 that Iglesias had been involved in "something sexual" with a minor. A few days later, the victim told officers that Iglesias had sexually assaulted them multiple times between their freshman and sophomore years of high school when they were between 13- and 16-years-old. Most of the assaults — which the victim said happened weekly — occurred at Iglesias' home, the complaint states. The victim also said the assaults grew worse over time.
Iglesias told the victim not to tell anyone about the sexual assaults and they felt pressure to keep them a secret, the complaint states, as well as "betrayed," "anxious" and "unprotected." Iglesias was also in a position of authority over and had a significant relationship with the victim.
A court brief also provides testimony from Iglesias' supervisor that Iglesias confided in him that he was being accused of being sexually involved with someone after resigning his position the night before. The supervisor believed he was a mandatory reporter and accepted Iglesias' resignation. Later that day, he called Winona police in front of Iglesias, who was in the hospital, to which Iglesias did not object.
In March, the defense attempted to get charges dismissed in a contested omnibus hearing trying to suppress the supervisor's statements under a Minnesota law that includes provisions stating that religious leadership may not disclose a confession without consent from the confessor. However, the court quickly denied the attempt, saying that Iglesias' statements were not protected speech and that the supervisor's disclosure and testimony were warranted as he agreed with the supervisor that he should tell police, according to a brief.
Iglesias will serve his time at Minnesota Correctional Facility-St. Cloud. He must also successfully complete a sex offender treatment program and provide a DNA sample.
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