Yet another religious figure — someone who is trusted by numerous people to care for their children because of his link to the divine — has been arrested for child sex crimes.
A youth minister from Illinois has been charged with sending sexually explicit texts and images to girls as young as 12 from the church and grooming them for sex later.
29-year-old Daniel Ramos reportedly began sending the inappropriate sexual images in early 2015, about a year after he began working for the Victory Worship Center in Chicago. The girls ranged between ages 12 and 17, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
Ramos began asking them for sex and finally did with one of the girls when she turned 18, prosecutors said. Shortly afterward, one of the other girls went to her mother, who contacted pastors at the church.
Ramos is charged with possession or exhibition of child pornography, indecent solicitation and grooming, all felonies, police said.
“We were kind of shocked,” said Victory Worship Center Pastor Chris Wallace. “Anytime someone gets arrested, it’s not good.’
I think what Pastor Wallace meant to say was, “Anytime someone gets sexually abused, it’s not good.” After all, it’s the abuse, not the arrest, that’s bad, right? Unless all you care about is the public relations storm above your church, that is.
Instead of focusing on the victims, Wallace went even further to insist that Ramos hadn’t been affiliated with that particular center for “many months.” As if that justifies them not catching him earlier or screening him out before offering him the job.
Fortunately, the prosecutors and the judge seem to be taking this case seriously. Ramos was held on $100,000 bail and restricted from contacting anyone under the age of 18. That ruling also limited Ramos’ ability to see his own child, for which I’m grateful.
Ramos has a 14-year-old son, and any contact with him will need to be in the presence of another adult, the judge said. She also barred him from any internet use.
Ramos’ attorney said he’s been married for nine years and works as a building engineer.
It just goes to show, once again, that those who proclaim themselves to be Christian do not necessarily have any moral high ground.
I wonder: If Ramos didn’t have the sanctity of the church to hide behind, or the authority of a pastor to use as a weapon against vulnerable kids and concerned parents, would he have been caught any earlier?