64-year-old Charlotte minister charged in child sexual assaults

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have charged a 64-year-old minister at Memorial United Methodist Church on Central Avenue with taking indecent liberties against girls ages 6 and 10.

Police arrested Orlando Agusto Caldera on two counts of indecent liberties against a child after responding to a call of a disturbance shortly before 9 p.m. Monday at the church, which is at 4012 Central Ave.

Arriving officers met with the victims and one of the girls’ mothers. Police said they reported that Caldera had inappropriately touched the girls.

Officers said they spoke with Caldera, who then agreed to be transported to police headquarters, where Youth Crimes detectives interviewed him. He was taken to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, where he remained in custody Tuesday afternoon.

Youth Crimes detectives have received information about additional potential victims and are investigating those cases.

“Right now, we’re shocked,” the church’s pastor, the Rev. Don Newman, told the Observer. “We don’t know exactly what’s going on. People are being interviewed, and we’ve taken appropriate steps as a church to safeguard our children.

“Right now, he’s in jail. He will not be allowed to return here” pending the outcome of the case, Newman said.

Caldera is an associate minister who works with the church’s Hispanic members, Newman said. “It’s a very sad day for me,” Newman said.

Caldera has no prior criminal or civil record, according to a records search by the Observer.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Researcher Maria David contributed.