En Fuego for Jesus Ministry Members Convicted Of Child Sex Trafficking
Orlando, Florida - A federal jury found Luis E. Morales (58, Ormond Beach) and Rebeca Rivera (27, Hartford, Connecticut) guilty yesterday of one count of sex trafficking of a minor and two counts of transporting a minor over state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity. Morales was also convicted of three additional counts of transporting a minor over state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity. Morales and Rivera each face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison. Their sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 22, 2013.
The jury also found that Morales used the property located at 8 Crossings Trail, Ormond Beach, Florida to facilitate the commission of the offenses. The property is subject to forfeiture at a separate proceeding.
Morales and Rivera were indicted on August 15, 2012.
According to evidence presented at trial, Morales was a self-proclaimed “Apostle” in a ministry he founded called En Fuego for Jesus. Rivera was one of his “prophets” in the ministry. In November 2009, Morales and Rivera transported a 12-year-old minor, who was also a member of the ministry, from Florida to Connecticut knowing that the minor would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act. In December 2010, Morales transported another minor, age 13, who was also a member of the ministry. He transported the victim from Arizona to Florida, and then to the Virgin Islands, with the intent to engage in sexual activity with the minor.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karen L. Gable.
It is another case 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 (CEOS), 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.projectsafechildhood.gov. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov and click on the tab "other resources."