Fernando Hernandez, pastor of It’s a Challenge Church in Brownwood, was arrested Friday in Coleman on Brown County warrants charging him with continuous sexual abuse of a child and indecency with a child, authorities said.
Hernandez, 50, was booked into the Coleman County Jail and is free on bonds totaling $50,000.
Hernandez told Texas Ranger Jason Shea he did not sexually assault anyone, a complaint filed by Shea in the Brown County Courthouse stated. The Bulletin attempted to reach Hernandez Monday morning for comment.
According to the complaint:
Shea was contacted on June 9 by District Attorney Micheal Murray’s office regarding a sexual assault investigation conducted by the Brownwood Police Department. Shea was asked to assist with the investigation and was provided with the following information:
Brownwood police were notified of a possible sexual assault on Nov. 23, and the suspect was identified as Hernandez. The victim was identified as Child Victim No. 1.
A week later, personnel with the Brown County Child Advocacy Center interviewed the child’s sister. She said Child Victim No. 1 told her she was touched by the suspect.
Child Advocacy Center personnel interviewed Child Victim No. 1, who said the suspect “put his hand down her pants” and touched her, Shea’s complaint states. The girl alleged it happened more than once and has happened more than once. The girl said the suspect told her not to tell anyone or he would go to prison.
On July 18, Brownwood police notified Shea that another child, referred to as Child Victim No. 2, had made an outcry about the suspect. The child told a Child Advocacy Center interviewer that the suspect put his hand down her shorts and touched her, and also exposed himself.
On July 24, Shea went to the suspect’s home and attempted to interview him, the complaints state. The suspect opened the door, said his attorney would not allow him to speak with Shea and said he had not sexually assaulted anyone.
The suspect stated “I could ask anyone and he had never been accused of doing this before,” Shea’s complaint states. “I corrected (the suspect) and advised him has has been accused of this three times including another two accusations. (The suspect) stated he could not speak to me.”
Authorities said they believe there may be additional alleged victims and asked that they contact Shea’s office at 325-641-0746.