Oahu pastor jailed for assaulting girl


POSTED: Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A woman who was sexually assaulted by her mentor and spiritual leader for at least seven years starting when she was 12 years old watched a judge sentence Manuel Guillermo Taboada to 10 years in prison yesterday.

;[Preview]    Taboada Sentenced to 10 Years

A former Kaneohe minister violated the trust of a member in his congregation by sexually assaulting her for years, and now he begins serving a 10-year sentence for those repeated crimes.

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The woman, her friends and family did not make any statements before Circuit Judge Richard Pollack handed down the sentence. Neither did Taboada.

“;What's he going to say to them, 'I'm sorry?' I don't think sorry's enough and that's why he agreed to a prison sentence,”; said Michael Green, Taboada's lawyer.

In a deal with prosecutors, Taboada, 57, pleaded guilty to eight counts of second-degree sexual assault covering the period from April 2001 through April 2007. He was facing four counts of first-degree sexual assault and four counts of second-degree sexual assault.

At the time, the girl and her family lived at a religious commune Taboada operated in Kaneohe.

Taboada agreed to the 10-year sentence and to serve a minimum of six years before he is eligible for parole. The Hawaii Paroling Authority can set a higher minimum.

Deputy Prosecutor Thalia Murphy said Taboada was grooming the girl to take over his ministry and took her on trips to California and Japan. When the girl reported Taboada had been sexually assaulting her, he tried to quote scripture to justify what he did, Murphy said.

“;The defendant's a very smooth operator, a scam artist and a sexual predator,”; Murphy said.

Taboada offered recorded religious sermons online from Back to the Cross Evangelistic Team. Another Web site listed him as the pastor of Great Commission Ministries in Portland, Ore. Murphy said Taboada was also the pastor of Peach House Ministry in Oregon.

She said Portland authorities are still investigating similar sexual assault allegations against Taboada in Oregon. So far they have not charged him with any crimes.