TOLLESON, Ariz. (KSAZ) - Robert Jerez is now being housed at the 4th Avenue Jail after police arrested and charged him with nine counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of sexual abuse.
Jerez made his initial court appearance Monday, beyond his name he had nothing else to say.
The pastor of the Grace Walk Community Church Joe Calloway says last Thursday night a 15-year-old girl who attends the church came to him and says she had been having sex with "Pastor Tony" which some kids at the church called Jerez.
Calloway says Jerez is an adult leader, not staff at the church.
"We never allow our adults to be alone with them, but I guess she had come to him with some struggles she had, and evidently he got her phone number, and they began to communicate off campus," said Joe Calloway.
Tolleson Police were called, and the girl said she had sex with Jerez a number of times from October until the end of 2015, and that she had drank alcohol and used drugs with him.
Jerez's neighbors were dismayed at the news of the arrest.
"Just that it is upsetting, and kids should have the confidence to go to an adult and tell them what is going on and not be quiet about it, it's not their fault, the adult should know better," said Rosie Buelna.
Police confronted Jerez who admitted to having sex with the girl but claimed it was consensual. He also admitted he was addicted to heroin and oxycodone.
Jerez told authorities he did not have a sexual relationship with any other underage churchgoers.
"In my opinion he needs to be put away for as long as they can put him away, because there's no excuse for this, he's devastated not only thing young ladies life, but think about his wife and two children," said Calloway.