En Fuego Ministry 'Apostle' Sentenced to Life for Child Sex Trafficking
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 22, 2013|
ORLANDO—U.S. District Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr. today sentenced Luis E. Morales (58, Ormond Beach) to life in federal prison for child sex trafficking and transporting children across state lines to engage in sexual activity. The court also ordered Morales to pay more than $35,000 in restitution to the victims of the offenses and to forfeit his interest in the property located at 8 Crossings Trail in Ormond Beach.
Judge Dalton also sentenced Morales’ co-defendant, Rebeca Rivera (28, Hartford, Connecticut) today. Rivera was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for her role in aiding and abetting the sex trafficking of a child and the transportation of a child across state lines to engage in sexual activity. As part of her sentence, Rivera was ordered to pay $31,030 in restitution to the victim of her offenses, to serve 10 years of supervised release, and to register as a sex offender.
Morales and Rivera were convicted on November 5, 2012.
According to evidence presented at trial, Morales was a self-proclaimed “apostle” in a ministry that he founded called En Fuego for Jesus. Rivera was one of his “prophets” in the ministry. In November 2009, Morales transported a 12-year-old ministry member from Florida to Connecticut, knowing that the minor would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act. While in Connecticut, Rivera recruited, encouraged, and enticed the minor to engage in sex acts with Morales. Later in November 2009, Morales transported the minor from Connecticut to Florida with the intent to engage in sexual activity with the minor. In December 2010, Morales transported a 13-year-old member of the ministry from Arizona to Florida, and then to the Virgin Islands, with the intent to engage in sexual activity with that minor.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karen L. Gable.
It is another case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “Resources.”