Octavio Cantarero Credit: Montgomery County police

A Gaithersburg pastor has been charged with attempting to rape a girl in January while she was a congregant at his church, Montgomery County police said Tuesday.

Octavio Cantarero, 42, a pastor at the Iglesia Pentecostal Principe De Paz on Earhart Court, provided a room to the girl to use at the church because she was “too young to live alone,” according to a police press release.

Cantarero brought the girl to a room in the church that had a bed on Jan. 16, told the girl the two would sleep there and attempted to rape her that night, police said. The victim resisted.

Police said Cantarero asked the victim not to tell anyone about the attack and offered to pay for her clothes, rent and other expenses.

The victim reported the incident to police in May and a warrant was issued for Cantarero’s arrest Sept. 16. The pastor turned himself in on Saturday and was charged with attempted second-degree rape against a minor and other sexual offenses. He was being held without bond.

Attorney information for Cantarero was not available Tuesday afternoon on the state court database. He is scheduled to appear in Montgomery County District Court on Oct. 18.


Police are asking anyone who believes they were victimized by Cantarero or knows someone who was to call the Special Victims Investigations Division at 240-773-5400.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@moco360.media