DECATUR – Jose Luis Aboytes, a former pastor of a church on the city's east side, was charged Thursday in Macon County Circuit Court with seven felony counts for allegedly repeatedly sexually assaulting and abusing a girl younger than 13 during a period of seven months.
Aboytes, 58, who is being held in the Macon County Jail on $250,000 bond, is facing one count of predatory criminal sexual assault, punishable by six to 60 years in prison, two counts of criminal sexual assault and four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
The victim told police she attended the Palabra Miel Hispanic Church, 3434 E. Wabash Ave., where Aboytes “began to sexually abuse her in an office in the church” about Sept. 16, 2015, said a request for an arrest warrant by Decatur Police detective Erik Ethell.
Aboytes was listed as a pastor/elder of the church in the court document.
The victim said the abuse “began with Jose touching her leg and progressed to sexual intercourse,” said the court document. The victim said that during choir practice “Jose would call her into his office,” where he would fondle and abuse her. She reported that the abusive conduct occurred during a period of several months.
The adolescent girl told police she “took numerous cellphone photographs of her naked body and sent them to Jose's phone.”
Detectives received more than 10 letters from the girl, in which Aboytes “expressed his love” for the victim, “in addition to knowing her age,” Ethell wrote in the court document. Aboytes “frequently asked (the victim) to destroy the letters after reading them.”
An intellectually disabled teen girl also reported to police that she had been abused by Aboytes, said the warrant request. She said that Aboytes would call her into his office, hug her and fondle her on top of her clothes. She told detectives that “Jose told her not to tell her parents about the conduct.”
In a July 2010 story in the Decatur Herald & Review, it was reported that Aboytes, who was originally from Mexico, was then serving as the assistant to the church's founder, the Rev. Alberto Diaz. The article reported that Aboytes was leading the congregation in song during a worship service.
A family that was cleaning the one-story church building Thursday afternoon confirmed that Aboytes was an assistant pastor at the church but is no longer on the church's staff. When Diaz was contacted by phone, he said he did not want to discuss Aboytes with the Herald & Review.
Aboytes is due in court March 24 for his arraignment and to present his attorney.