• Former church volunteer sentenced to life for molestation


    COBB COUNTY, Ga. - A former church volunteer will serve a life sentence in jail after pleading guilty to sexually molesting nine young boys and teenagers.

    Cesar Pastrana, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, pleaded guilty to the charges against him inside a Cobb County courtroom on Friday afternoon.

    Channel 2's Ross Cavitt was there to hear the judge's ruling in the case involving boys Pastrana met while volunteering at NorthStar Church on Blue Springs Road in Acworth.

    Relatives of some of the victims were set to testify, but prosecutors later declined because the witnesses were too emotional to speak.

    Authorities said Pastrana sought out police to confess after initial allegations arose and pointed investigators to some of the victims.

    Cavitt said parents were furious when they learned why a local middle school banned Pastrana from campus. Parents sent letters to NorthStar Church, warning the church of inappropriate texts between Pastrana and his victims. Despite the school's warning to the church, Pastrana continued serving as a volunteer.

    The church sent a statement to Channel 2 Action News before Friday's court appearance, saying "We are aware of the incident with Barber Middle School, but due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing investigation of Cesar Pastrana, we are not at liberty to comment further."

    Families filed lawsuits against the church, contending that the abuse could have been prevented.

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