Arkansas pastor found guilty of sexually assaulting teens

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – A pastor in northwestern Arkansas has been found guilty of second-degree sexual assault.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that 60-year-old Cesar Lopez was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison Wednesday.

Cesar Lopez/ Benton County Jail

Police records show Lopez was arrested in May 2016 after Arkansas State Police investigated a tip that two girls, ages 15 and 16, had been molested.

The 15-year-old told investigators that Lopez touched her inappropriately multiple times. Court documents show the girl said she’d known Lopez since she was 6 and thought of him as a grandfather.

According to KFSM, both of the girls told authorities Lopez would touch them inappropriately when he was giving them a hug.

Lopez denied any sexual contact with the teens during his testimony Tuesday.

Lopez will have to serve more than two years of his sentence before he’s eligible for parole. He’ll be required to register as a sex offender after he’s released.