Crime Church Parishioner Arrested After Hidden Cameras Found in Women's Bathroom
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A parishioner of a church in California has been arrested after hidden cameras were found inside the women's bathrooms.
Stephen Ramirez, 32, has been accused of planting two recording devices inside the female restrooms at the L.A. Pentecostal Church located at 8300 Eastern Avenue in Bell Gardens.
The Bell Gardens Police Department said officers were called to the church after staff found the cameras on Sunday, August 29.
Detectives reviewed video footage and found that several children aged between 5 and 16 years old as well as several adult women were filmed using the bathrooms.
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Police said that shortly after a report was filed, the suspect turned himself in after being persuaded to by church officials.
The church officials walked the suspect into the Bell Gardens Police Department lobby on August 31, where he was arrested.
Ramirez was charged with invasion of privacy and lewd conduct.
In a statement, Bell Gardens Police Chief Scott Fairfield thanked those at the church for their assistance in the investigation and for helping officers identify and apprehend the suspect
"I am confident that the immediate response by Church leaders kept other members of our community from being victimized by this individual," Fairfield said.
The L.A. Pentecostal Church has been contacted for comment.
Also in August, a pastor at a church in Las Vegas was arrested on suspicion of several counts of lewdness, including ones against children.
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Fermin Rangel-Ramos, 52, the presiding pastor of the Iglesia Centro Cristiano Bethel church in the 3600 block of Vegas Drive, was arrested by the Las Vegas MetropolitanDepartment (LVMPD) on August 11.
According to a police report,the suspect about the accusations, which resulted in him leaving the church.
Around 60 people were part of the church meeting in April, during which 11 women and girls, aged between 15 and 23, leveled abuse allegations at Rangel-Ramos.
The 52-year-old allegedly touched a woman's breast repeatedly while greeting her. He also allegedly tried to kiss a girl to whom he was giving a lift in a car before telling the child not to tell her parents about the incident.
Rangel-Ramos has been charged with two felony counts of lewdness with a child between the ages of 14 and 15, and three gross misdemeanor counts of lewdness.
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Rangel-Ramos' attorney, Dewayne A. Nobles, denied the allegations against his client.
"Mr. Rangel-Ramos categorically denies these accusations and we look forward to employing a very strong defense addressing these falsehoods," Nobles told KSNV.
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