“A Lake County man who runs a ministry and food pantry for the needy is accused of sexually battering women he was supposed to be helping.
Pedro Custodio, also known as Pastor Pete, operates Our Father’s House of Refuge Ministries in Eustis, according to police.
Investigators said the three victims were living at Custodio’s shelter and food pantry, a location he rented from a church, when the alleged crimes happened. He’s accused of forcing himself onto the women and trying to coerce them into having sex with him.
Channel 9’s Renee Stoll confronted the 44-year-old after he bonded out of the Lake County Jail Tuesday.
“You can believe all you want,” Custodio said before grabbing and throwing reporter Renee Stoll’s microphone.
Arnold Thrash, who is an elder at the church and has no affiliation with the ministry, said he was suspicious of Custodio.
“Naturally, the window was open, has no shade and I’m looking out,” Thrash said. “It’s at night and he comes in here with girls.”
Thrash once questioned whether Pastor Pete was feeding the homeless more for his own glory.
“Feed people just so I look big and I’m the king,” Thrash said of Custodio. “He didn’t like what I said so he shoved me to the floor.”
Custodio told WFTV the victims are only trying to get money out of him.
“Well if you live in a place like that, you want to sue somebody,” Custodio said
“So you didn’t do any of this and all three women have the same story?” Stoll asked.
“Well the three women are friends,” Custodio said.
Pastor Pete was charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count of attempted sexual battery. Eustis police said they’re investigating if there are any more victims and anyone with information is asked to contact the department.”