A religious youth leader in Fairfax County was arrested after being accused of sexually assaulting children at his home in McLean, Virginia.
Fairfax County police said Wednesday that they had arrested 75-year-old Antonio Perez-Alcala for allegedly sexually assaulting a child at the Secular Institute Stabat Mater, after the victim told an adult about the assault.
Detectives are now working to learn if there could be more victims. An anonymous tip can be left for police by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS and by text by typing “FCCS” and the tip to 847411.
Investigators said the suspect operated the charitable organization from his home in McLean, where he gave private mentoring sessions, often in his bedroom.
“The victims at this time are under the age of 13 and at this point we do have two victims. We do believe that there are more out there. We have the possibility of one more victim at this time that we haven’t charged for yet as we still investigate,” Stephen Wallace, of the Fairfax County Police Department, said.
Perez-Acala is charged with nine counts of aggravated sexual battery.
People in his neighborhood are shocked.
“I think as a mother of two I just couldn’t imagine that all happening to my kids, and I wouldn’t allow it for sure,” one woman said.
Detectives said the suspect mentored children throughout Northern Virginia over the past 30 years and was affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Arlington from 1994 to 2008.
“Ever since the mid 90s, he’s had access to some of the most vulnerable people which are children,” Wallace said.
In a written statement, the diocese said: “As a condition of employment and volunteerism with the Diocese, Mr. Pérez-Alcalá underwent a criminal background check and completed VIRTUS safe-environment training on the prevention and reporting of abuse. He also underwent recurring background checks every five years, consistent with diocesan policy, to continue serving with minors.”
In their statement, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington said this is the first time they have been made aware of allegations against the suspect.