Dominican Republic investigates molestation allegations against evangelical pastor

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic are investigating claims that an evangelical pastor in the Caribbean nation sexually abused 30 children.

Daniel Vasquez has surrendered to authorities in the city of Santiago and declared his innocence. The 33-year-old pastor says the accusations were fabricated by members of his congregation who have been involved in a dispute with him.

Prosecutor Berenice Reynoso said Friday she will ask for Vasquez to be jailed for eight months while investigators speak with the alleged victims.

The allegations were raised this week by another pastor, Pablo Urena, who claimed Vasquez offered money, cell phones and other gifts to boys in exchange for sexual favors.