Monroe County deacon charged with illegal contact of minor

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MIDDLE SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Middle Smithfield Township Church deacon is facing charges involving the indecent assault of a minor.

Eyewitness News spoke to locals in the area who say they’re devastated for their community.

One Middle Smithfield Township resident, who wished to remain anonymous said, “I think it’s very, very sad for our community to have something happen like this right in our backyard.”

45-year-old Jeronimo Maisonet was taken into custody over the weekend for allegedly having unlawful contact with a minor.

Maisonet is accused of kissing, groping, and making sexual comments to a 14-year-old female since 2018.

The church involved in the investigation is the Church of God-Holy Ground which shares the same location as the Middle Smithfield Presbyterian Church.

Middle Smithfield Presbyterian says, although they share the same address, they are two separate churches.

The Church of God-Holy Ground did not get back to Eyewitness News with a statement in response to the charges.

“As someone who is a believer, someone who attends church regularly, the abuse of power and the violation of young women or young men, no matter who’s involved, it’s devastating,” explained Carollynn Callaghan, Middle Smithfield Township resident.

Callaghan says she has a teenage daughter and couldn’t even think of her child being in the victim’s shoes.

“I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine. Especially within the walls of a place where you’re supposed to be safe, be close to God. And you know, be nurtured, not destroyed,” Callaghan said.

Maisonet is currently being held at Monroe County Prison, unable to post $200,000 bail. He is facing several charges including indecent assault and corruption of a minor.

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