Florida

Preacher raped 9- and 10-year-old girls and forced each other to watch, cops say

Yunior Beltres
Yunior Beltres Miami-Dade Corrections

A Miami preacher was arrested Friday after police said he repeatedly raped two young girls in his bedroom and forced them to witness each other’s assault.

Yunior Beltres, a 54-year-old citizen of the Dominican Republic, was charged with two counts of sexual battery on a minor, police said. The alleged victims are 9 and 10 years old.

The girls, whose relationship to Beltres was not disclosed, reported the abuse to police in July. They said the assaults occurred in May and June at his home in the 300 block of Northeast 118th Terrace in Miami.

Beltres, a preacher at Evangelistic Ministry of Columns of Fire, lists his home as the mailing address of his congregation, according to records filed with Florida’s Division of Corporations.

The congregation, also known as Ministerio Evangelistico Columnas de Fuego, is located on the second floor at 2052 NW 22nd Ct. in Miami, according to state records. Beltres has been affiliated with the organization since at least 1996, according to the records.

A woman who answered the phone number listed for the religious organization on Friday said that Beltres was a pastor at the congregation and that the accusations against him were false. She did not provide her name and hung up on a reporter.

In the voice greeting for the phone number, Beltres identifies himself as a pastor and wishes blessings on his callers.

Videos posted to Facebook by members of the congregation show Beltres delivering impassioned and booming sermons in Spanish.

In one video, posted Aug. 15, Beltres preaches about responding to critics of his faith. He comments on the “lost souls” of society.

“Even if they reject you a thousand times or spit in your face — even if they call you a crazy fanatic,” he said, yelling. “Yes, I’m a crazy person of the third heaven.

“There are a thousand lost souls out there, but you all are pleased that you are saved,” he added.

Beltres, accompanied by an attorney, turned himself into authorities Thursday. He was being held Friday in Miami-Dade’s Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center with no bond.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.
Martin Vassolo is a general assignment reporter on the Miami Herald’s metro desk. He was a member of the Herald’s reporting team covering the 2018 midterm elections and Florida’s recount. Previously, he worked as a political reporting intern with the Herald and as editor-in-chief of the University of Florida’s student newspaper, The Independent Florida Alligator.
  Comments