Band member claims pastor groped her

A married pastor forced himself on a female member of his church’s worship band, kissing and fondling her, his alleged victim claimed in Grand Court on Monday. 

Felix Manzanares, 27, a youth pastor at the Church of God in George Town at the time, denies indecently assaulting the 41-year-old woman at her West Bay home in December 2011. 

The woman, whose identity the Caymanian Compass is not reporting, told the court that she had repeatedly pushed Manzanares away, but he had persisted, rubbing her thigh before grabbing her neck and kissing her.  

She said his unwanted advances only stopped when her friend arrived at the door, at which point she went outside and told him, “Felix tried to rape me.” Under cross-examination, she denied a suggestion from Manzanares’ attorney that the “french kisses” had been consensual and she was lying to try to “destroy” the pastor.  

She claimed Manzanares, who she knew from the church’s worship band, had pestered her with BBM messages throughout the day, saying he wanted to talk. 

She said she had declined invitations to lunch and dinner saying she had plans, and that she was startled when she arrived at her parents’ house later and found him already there. She was “uncomfortable and upset” that he had shown up, but reluctantly agreed to talk with him. He followed her to her home, where she claims the assault took place. 

She said he had first followed her into the bedroom closet and made a remark about her “stripper shoes” – a reference to a pair of high heeled shoes, of which she had posted a picture on her BBM. 

Later, she said she was on the phone to her father when the pastor leaned in and tried to kiss her neck and she pushed him away. 

After that, she claimed they were both sitting on the sofa when he put his hand on her thigh, under her skirt, and said: “I’m thinking about kissing you now.” 

She said: “He put his right hand on the left side of my neck and brought me towards him, he started to kiss me and put his tongue in my mouth.” 

She said she pushed him off and walked into the kitchen, but he followed her and put his hand up her skirt again, rubbing her thigh and grabbing her breast. 

“I told him to stop but he kept chuckling like it was funny. I kept saying he needed to stop, he needed to leave.” 

She said she had gone to get her cellphone from the bedroom to call her friend and Manzanares had followed her. At that point, the doorbell rang and she says she scrambled past him to answer the door and told her friend what had happened. 

She said that during the incident she was in shock and that the pastor’s actions had confirmed her reservations that, “he was not who he was pretending to be.” 

After her friend arrived she said she asked him to help her to get the pastor to leave. She said she had taken a shower while he and the pastor talked in the living room, and then she and her friend left to go to dinner and Manzanares went home. 

Initially, she said, she reported the incident to the church in the hope that it could be sorted out internally. Later, her brother called the police and she gave a statement. A church official brokered a meeting between the two, where she claims Manzanares told her, “I’m sorry I hurt you as a friend but you gave me mixed signals.” 

She accepted under cross-examination from Manzanares’ attorney Keva Reid that she had not run outside or screamed, slapped or scratched Manzanares in an attempt to fight him off during the alleged assault. 

She also accepted that she had not said anything to her father, who had called her during the alleged incident. 

She denied that she had kissed Manzanares back and told him, “I have a thing for young guys.” 

She also denied a suggestion from Ms Reid, that she was telling lies to “destroy” the pastor because she felt he had treated her like a slut and was embarrassed that she had kissed a married man.