LAS VEGAS - A self-proclaimed prophet accused of molesting children would threaten his followers with excommunication if they did not succumb to his wishes, Las Vegas Metro police said Monday.
Benito Catello, 75, operated a non-denominational Christian church called The Ministry. Alleged victims told police that members were called “sheep” and they were instructed to call him “papa.”
A 17-year-old girl who accused Catello of molesting her said she had been a member of the church for nearly 10 years. In a police report, she said Catello instructed her to move into his spare bedroom so he could “counsel” her.
But the girl claimed Catello wanted to have sex with her and threatened to degrade her in front of other church members during daily services if she did not comply. The teen also told police Catello threatened to excommunicate her and her entire family.
As a result, the girl said she obeyed his demands and had sex with Catello multiple times. Police said she came forward after she convinced her parents not to let her move back in with Catello.
Catello is also accused of molesting a 13-year-old girl who went to visit her grandmother when the woman wasalso staying at Catello’s home.
When confronted about the accusations, police said Catello’s answer was that if the girls said it happened, it must be true. When asked to clarify, Catello is quoted saying that he was “full of the spirit and can’t help what he does” when he is “full” of it.
Catello is charged with 27 counts of sexual assault, and lewdness with a person under the age of 14.
Full of it? That's this guy's excuse? And the members were called "sheep"? What is it with religion and sexual predators?
He's hoping to use the "full of it" excuse to mollify his sheep. I think religion in general either draws pedophiles and other sexual predators because they know they will have easy and private access to victims under the guise of "counseling", or that some individuals, once in a position of power, become corrupt and feel they are above man's law, and use the Bible or Holy Spirit to justify their actions. But here's the thing---if religion gives people moral guidance and direction, how could this happen? It should be obvious that it doesn't. Instead, it provides cover for wolves to prey upon the sheep.
Now, I know some would argue that religion is not to blame, it is the pervert who misused the trust placed in them who took advantage of the trusting soul who got molested or taken advantage of. But that begs the question, in my mind anyway, of "Where was God in all this?" I mean, come on, doesn't most of this stuff happen in His house? And if He's all powerful, why does He let this happen in His name?
Simple, direct questions which have been asked and argued over ad infinitum. But the fact remains---crimes are committed, and God does nothing to stop them.