DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) – A former pastor at a Latino church in Des Moines has been arrested for allegedly trying to force a woman in his congregation into an intimate relationship.
Jose Artero, 47, is charged with assault with intent to commit sexual abuse and sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist. In Iowa, the law considers religious leaders as counselors. He was booked into the Polk County Jail Wednesday afternoon.
Artero showed up drunk at the residence of a 20-year-old female congregation member in November 2022, according to Sgt. Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department. Artero is accused of exposing his genitals to the woman and fondling them. Sgt. Parizek said the woman tried to get him to leave but he wouldn’t listen, and she finally had to push Artero out the door.
Police said Artero continued to text and call the woman after the incident, still trying to start an intimate relationship.
Artero was the pastor at a church on 23rd Street in Des Moines, but Sgt. Parizek said he was fired in January. The website for Palabra Viva Iowa, which is located at 1031 23rd Street, lists Artero as one of its pastors.