Pastors Mario Irias, 30, and Darwin Irias, 35, were arrested on charges that they sexually assaulted female members of Tabernacle de Vida Church in Charlotte, NC. The victims were only 8 and 9 years old when the abuse started in 2013. Pastor Mario and Darwin are bothers and had allegedly fondled these young girls for several years while they attended the church.
Both Mario and Darwin were youth pastors at the church. Mario was youth pastor for 8 years.
Police received notification that multiple sexual assaults occurred when the victims saw the brothers randomly earlier this year in 2018, and that moment is what triggered the girls to come to police.
The two suspects lived with the victim family after moving to the United States from Honduras.
One of the victims alleged that Pastor Darwin sexually assaulted her at a church funeral service. The victim alleges Darwin touched her breasts, butt, and vaginal areas. Pastor Darwin also kissed the girl on her lips, charges state. She was 12 years old at the time.
The girl is now a teenager and this is her first time disclosing the encounter to anyone, police say.
The pastors also were piano teachers at the church and on one occasion Pastor Mario placed his hands on the girl's butt and did it continually during piano lessons, allegedly.
On a church trip to Atlanta, Pastor Darwin allegedly began kissing the young victim on the mouth and rubbed his hand up her skirt while riding in the church van. The victim had to change clothes once she arrived in Atlanta due to her clothes getting wet.
Pastor Mario even took it a step further when he allegedly had sex and anal sex with one of the victim's 12-year-old female cousins. The victim alleges that the sexual intercourse went on for 2-3 years, Pastor Mario told the victim to call it dating. The 12-year-old victim was also a member of Tabernacle de Vida Church.
Pastor Darwin admitted that his brother, Pastor Mario dated the 12-year-old girl because the victim and Pastor Mario liked each other.