EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD Timothy Villasis Vergara was arrested on Friday after he was accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in the restroom of Jesus Is Lord Church on June 2.

On Monday, Vergara was brought before Superior Court Judge Theresa Kim-Tenorio who imposed a $20,000 cash bail on the defendant. Vergara was charged with sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree, and sexual assault in the first degree.

Vergara’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Jean Nogues, on June 15 asked the court to modify the defendant’s bail by reducing it to $10,000, and to allow him to post 10% of the amount or $1,000. Nogues also requested the court that Vergara be released to his mother as third-party custodian.

Judge Kim-Tenorio granted the bail modification request and released Vergara to his mother.

According to the alleged victim’s mother, Vergara raped her daughter at Micro Beach in August 2020, and in the restroom of Jesus Is Lord Church on June 2, 2021 during a church anniversary practice.

The 13-year-old victim underwent a forensic interview with Division of Youth Services investigators that was attended by a police investigator. She stated that the second incident happened at around 7 p.m. on June 2, 2021.

At the time, she said she was using the female restroom outside the church and when she was about to step out, Vergara allegedly pushed her back into the restroom, and pushed her face first against the wall.

She said he sexually assaulted her, adding that she was scared of Vergara because he was older, stronger, and people would believe what he had to say.

On June 11, 2021, a forensic interview was conducted with another minor who said she witnessed Vergara coming out of the restroom after the incident.

She said the victim had told her she was going to use the restroom, and while the witness waited for the alleged victim outside the restroom, she saw Vergara “walk out of the female restroom and observed that he was panting and appeared nervous before rushing to close the restroom door.”

According to police, the first incident happened in August 2020 and was reported to the Commonwealth Health Center on Jan. 25, 2021.

During an interview with Dr. Heather Taylor, the victim, who was then 12 years old, wrote on a piece of paper that when they were celebrating her brother’s birthday at Micro Beach, she went to the ocean with the son of her mother’s friend, Vergara. The victim said Vergara sexually assaulted her.

Court documents did not indicate why Vergara, who was 17 at the time, was not charged with the first incident.

Vergara will return to court for a preliminary hearing on June 21 at 1:30 p.m. and on June 28 at 9 a.m. for an arraignment.

On Tuesday Pastor Liza Panuringan of Jesus Is Lord Church issued the following statement:

“The Jesus Is Lord Church-Saipan believes that each person is accountable to God and to the laws of men for their action or inaction. That there is a legal system in every country in place to prosecute the errant and protect the citizenry is a hallmark of every civilized society. This particular incident involving an 18-year-old boy who allegedly made sexual advances against a girl who is a minor is something that the JIL Church takes very seriously. The safety of its members, churchgoers and guests in the premises of the Church is of paramount importance. Hence, the JIL Church will conduct its own investigation on the matter and will cooperate with the authorities, if necessary, in finding out the truth. The JIL Church continues to pray that the truth will come out and that the concerned families find peace as they participate in this process of the State’s justice system.”

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