Ex-church volunteer gets life sentence for child molestation
by Kim Isaza
September 22, 2012 01:17 AM | 9535 views | 10 10 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Cesar A. Pastrana, a former volunteer at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, pleaded guilty Friday morning to aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy and child molestation and was sentenced to life in prison.

Pastrana, 25, will have to serve 30 years before he is eligible for parole. If he is ever paroled, Pastrana will be deported. Pastrana was born in Mexico and is not a U.S. citizen.

Cobb Police arrested Pastrana in February after he was accused of molesting a 14-year-old boy just after midnight Feb. 4 during a NorthStar Church “lock-in” event held at a private home.

In May, a Cobb grand jury returned a 15-count indictment, charging Pastrana with four counts of aggravated child molestation, one count of aggravated sodomy, and 10 counts of child molestation involving nine boys younger than 16.

According to the indictment, the acts began as far back as October 2007. The most recent occurred days before his arrest in February.

Superior Court Judge Reuben Green presided over the plea and sentencing at 9 a.m. Friday.

Assistant District Attorney Chuck Boring said families of at least four victims were in the courtroom Friday morning, but all were too upset to make victim impact statements. Pastrana also said little, Boring said.

Two of the victims were related to Pastrana and lived in the same house with him. The seven others all met Pastrana through the church, Boring said.

There was no physical evidence of the crimes, Boring said, but Pastrana admimtted to numerous acts, even more than what the children had alleged.

Pastrana’s court-appointed attorney, Louis Turchiarelli, could not be reached for comment late Friday.

NorthStar Church is a large congregation that meets on Blue Springs Road in Kennesaw, not far from North Cobb High School.

Pastor Mike Linch was unavailable for comment on Friday.

But Communications Pastor Randy Elster told the Journal: “From the time we first learned of the allegations of wrongdoing by Cesar Pastrana, who was a volunteer with NorthStar, we have fully cooperated with law enforcement and we are grateful for the work of the authorities in this case to bring it to some sort of resolution.

“Our prayers continue to be with the families of those affected as they continue the healing process.”

About 2,200 people attend NorthStar’s Sunday services, Elster said.

In May, two of the victim’s families filed civil suits against the church seeking unspecified damages for Pastrana’s actions. The cases were filed in Clayton County, where the church’s registered agent is located.

Comments
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Dick Waters
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September 24, 2012
Why the hell didn't God intervene?
Hurt and furious
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September 24, 2012
Where was the pastor of the church or even a staff member the day of sentencing did Pastor Lynch not feel any compassion to be there for his church families… This church was well aware of Mr. Pastrana's inappropriateness with young boys back over two years ago - not just when this happened in February - and had been approached by several parents in the church about the inappropriateness of him with their children at the church... but the church continued to just "meet with him regularly" ha! So is said… but yet still let him volunteer and have alone time with young middle school boys – WHAT WERE THEY THINKING! All 15 charges have been since the middle school principal brought a very strong situation to the pastor's attention about this young man and told the pastor he was no longer allowed at her middle school or around the students at her school...and the church still kept him in the volunteer position of young boys as well as letting him go to other middle and high schools as a youth representative of North Star Church. The church refuses to make any mention of this letter and meeting that was held with the Principal and Acworth Police at that time. So they did not just learn of this man and his problems back in February, they have known for a long time there were issues with him and he had no business being a volunteer of young middle school boys. But we all make mistakes… fine we get that they didn’t take letter and actions that happened serious… but now that they realize what they have let happen by not being proactive on this situation…where is their remorse… the apologizes…the admittance to the victims and to the church members for what has really happened…. But, NO they just continue to sit under a rock and walk around as if they have done everything they were supposed to do…and act as if they are not in some way responsible for what happened to these boys and their families. How does that Pastor sleep at night is far beyond my comprehension… I’d love to see a segment on this with his sister-n-law… if it wasn’t family related she’d be all over this situation!!!
appyingcommonsense
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September 24, 2012
Lynch and every staff member that knew about this should resign. At least Longacre knew enough to get out quickly.
areyoukidding??
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September 23, 2012
I understand that the Pastor and staff of Northstar new about him when they received the letter from the middle school but still let him work with children. Is the MDJ investigating that?
bbrick
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September 23, 2012
This is so sad for everyone involved - the victims, their families, the church, and, yes, the perpetrator, too. I am a former child sexual abuse victim and can relate to all this. The one who committed this crime is no doubt a victim himself when he was young, but didn't get the help he needed through counseling to deal with all the raw emotions that affected him. I just hope this kids who are his victims DO get that kind of help and counseling so they won't internalize these feelings and allow them to misdirect them in life. They all need our prayers.
Awful story
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September 23, 2012
Another disgusting result of our "open borders". This sort of thing is going to happen more and more as long as we don't control our border to the south. Why can't we let some scientists in? What about people that would make a positive contribution, or is that asking too much?
tired of it
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September 23, 2012
Yep, illegal immigrant in this country doing a terrible crime. Hang him and send him home.
anonymous
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September 22, 2012
Doesn't the church take any responsibility for this?
a friend of victims
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September 22, 2012
my heart will continue to break for these families... So much more that has not been done by the church to apologize and show remorse to these families for what they didn't take serious enough to keep this from happening to these young men.
Pat H
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September 22, 2012
Another criminal illegal alien, shielded by a Church with misguided loyalties, preying on American citizens.

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