ACWORTH, Ga. - Police believe a former Sunday school teacher sexually assaulted a student at a metro church, and they worry there may be more victims.
Investigators say Jonathan Martinez served as a Sunday school teacher for a congregation that rented an Acworth church, and during the time classes were in session, Martinez allegedly sexually assaulted at least one of the students on church property.
Immigration activist Carlos Garcia told Channel 2’s Ross Cavitt that recent gains in trust between the local immigrant populations and police were damaged when tales of recent federal immigration raids, including some in the metro circulated.
"After these immigration raids, people will think twice about talking to law enforcement," Garcia said.
Police may need some trust after their recent arrest of Martinez.
The Sunday school teacher is 27 now, but was in his early to mid-20s when he allegedly sexually assaulted a young girl in a basement conference room of an Acworth church.
An arrest warrant says Martinez later assaulted a victim at an Acworth home as recently as 2013, and videotaped the assault with his cellphone.
A fugitive unit arrested Martinez in Brunswick. He's jailed there until deputies can return him to Cobb County to face child molestation and enticing charges.
Investigators anticipate more charges, but in this current environment, getting potential victims to speak with police just weeks after immigration raids will be a challenge.
"A lot of people assume it's the police looking for them and that's not true and that actually makes a big damage to the improvements we’ve been making over the years," Garcia told Cavitt.
Martinez could be facing more charges in Glynn County. It is unclear when he will be sent to Cobb County to face trial.