Youth pastor accused of sexual battery on 15-year-old girl

Police say suspect, victim were 'boyfriend, girlfriend' for 8-9 months

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - A youth pastor was arrested Wednesday on charges of sexual battery and promoting the sexual performance of a child.

According to an arrest report, Fernando Misael Ponce, 24, met the 15-year-old victim several years ago at the Sembrador De Fe church at 2614 NW 21st St.

Police said Ponce showed interest in the girl when she was between the ages of 11 and 12, but her mother told him to stay away from her. 

Police said Ponce asked the victim to be his girlfriend when she was about 14 years old, and they began a relationship.

According to the arrest report, Ponce and the girl were "girlfriend and boyfriend" for eight to nine months and engaged in sexual activity, including oral and anal sex.

Police said Ponce told the teen not to tell anyone about their relationship or else "her family would suffer."

During their so-called relationship, police said the youth pastor and victim would video chat with each other, and Ponce would secretly take photos of the teen without her knowledge.

Detectives said Ponce confessed to all of the allegations against him.

He is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. 

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