Pastor accused of assaulting 87-year-old woman

A Pawtucket pastor was formally charged Thursday with sexual assault on an 87-year-old woman.

Rolando Rodriguez was arraigned in Providence District Court on a charge of second-degree sexual assault.{} He was released on bail and ordered not to have any contact with the alleged victim.

Rodriguez is the pastor of the Light and Hope Methodist Church on Summit Street.

The woman reported to police that Rodriguez came to her home unannounced on July 17. She said he grabbed her and pulled her into his crotch.

"The only thing she could do to defend herself at that point was to bite him in that area," Pawtucket police Sgt. Mark Boisclair said.

Pawtucket police said they have a taped confession from Rodriguez. But defense attorney Robert Osteri said the conversation was done without council and without a translator.

"He was afforded council but council wasn't present, and he gave a statement but he denies wholeheartedly to me that that was that tenor of the statement," Osteri said. "The facts, as my client states, are totally opposite to that."

Osteri said Rodriguez was comforting the 87-year-old woman following the loss of a family member and only hugged her.

In court, family and members of Rodriguez's congregation supported him. Rodriguez arrived in Rhode Island in April.