New York City, NY (The New York Post) – A Queens deacon and married father of two is accused of the cardinal sin of lust — but his wife says her husband is innocent and the accuser is animated by greed.
Police arrested 55-year-old Jaime Pinzon, an ordained deacon at the St. Joan of Arc parish in Jackson Heights, on charges that he molested a 27-year-old woman on an F Train near West 47th Street and Avenue of the Americas around 9:30 a.m. Dec. 12, court records show.
The woman told cops she tried to move away from the stranger but that he continued to press his hand against her crotch, police sources said.
She was able to take cellphone photos of the man and even followed him when he got off the train at Herald Square, where she took another shot. Cops disseminated the photos, and the public helped identify Pinzon.
But Pinzon’s wife, Elma, said her husband is innocent and that they were devastated to learn about the accusations after a member of their church community saw Pinzon’s photo on the news and texted her.
“I was shocked, of course,” she told The Post by phone Monday. “Thursday night it appeared on the news. Somebody sent us pictures. Everybody in our community started to call because my husband has 30 years serving in the church as a good person, honorable person.”
Elma said Jaime was on his way to work when the stranger accosted him and accused him of groping her. Jaime told Elma about it when he got home later, the wife said.
“My husband that night told me about a story that this lady came to approach him and say that he did something to her,” she said. “So he told me this story and I thought maybe it was a sick, mental-illness person. I told my husband, ‘Don’t worry about it, nothing will come of it.’”
Elma couldn’t explain why the woman would falsely accuse her husband.
“We don’t know what the lady wants — maybe she wants money,” she said.
The wife claimed her hubby turned himself in to police after his photo was put on blast, but law enforcement sources say they brought him in.
“We talked to him and he was going to turn himself in,” a police source said. “He didn’t. So we scooped him up at home.”
Jaime was arrested Dec. 15 at his home on 79th Street in Queens, sources said.
He was charged with two counts of forcible touching and one count of sex abuse in the third degree, court records show.
He was released without bail and is due back in court Feb. 15.
Jaime, who was ordained in 2013, is a father of two and an architect by trade who originally hails from Guatemala City, Guatemala, according to an article about his ordination published by the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens. He and Elma have lived in the US for about a decade, she said.
“His faculties as a deacon have been suspended and he will not be ministering pending the resolution of this charge,” diocesan spokeswoman Carolyn Erstad told The Post. “An announcement was made during Saturday and Sunday Masses at Pinzone’s [sic] parish informing parishioners of the situation.”
Parishioner Melanie Abel-bey said she found the allegations “shocking” but lauded the church for removing Pinzon.
“I think with the Catholic Church being scrutinized, they don’t want to get criticized that they’re trying to protect someone that is a potential predator,” she said.