CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Two more alleged victims have come forward and accused a Concord pastor of sexual assault.
Brian Michael Mahiques, 41, the lead pastor at Encounter Church on Sunderland Road, has been charged with sex crimes against four minors.
Mahiques was arrested on May 7 and was initially charged with two counts of Statutory Sexual Offense of a Child and three counts of Indecent Liberties with a Minor.
He is facing additional charges of one count of Statutory Sexual Offense and three counts of Indecent Liberties with a Minor.
Two of the additional Indecent Liberties charges are for two other victims who have since come forward since Mahiques’ arrest.
In total, Mahiques has been charged with three counts of Statutory Sex Offense of a Child and six counts of Indecent Liberties with a Minor.
The investigation began in the spring of 2019 upon receiving a report from the Cabarrus County Department of Social Services in regards to a sexual assault involving a minor.
According to Concord police, the report indicated a victim had recently disclosed to their parents that they had been sexually assaulted on numerous occasions from 2005-2006 by Mahiques, who was the victim’s youth pastor at The Refuge Church when it was located in Concord.
The report indicated the victim had told their parents they had been sexually assaulted on numerous occasions from 2005-2006 by Mahiques, who was the youth pastor at The Refuge Church.
The Refuge Church says there was never reports of sexual abuse allegations while Mahiques works at the church from 2005-2008. They say as soon as they heard the allegations, in the spring of 2019, they went to authorities.
“This is obviously a situation where he was looked up to by these kids as their youth group pastor and in someways had a little bit of authority over them. And he took full advantage of that," said Major Bobby Ledwell of the Concord Police Department.
During the course of the initial investigation, a second victim came forward and said they too had been sexually assaulted by Mahiques during this time period and was also a part of the youth group at The Refuge Church.
Both victims were under the age of 16 when these incidents occurred and both have specified some of the incidents occurred during youth events and on the property of The Refuge Church.
Since May 7, two more victims reported sexual assault to police.
Mahiques is now the lead pastor at Encounter Church and is also an instructor at The Daniel Academy of Concord, a private school operated under Encounter Church.
In a statement on the Encounter Church’s website, church leadership says they “are waiting for the due process of the law to unfold” and "just as our church supports fellow members in good times, we also stand beside them offering prayer and strength in difficult times.
The full statements from Refuge Church and Encounter Church are at the bottom of this article.
Mahiques was given an additional $1 million bond, bringing his total bond to $2 million. Mahiques remains in the Cabarrus County Jail.
Concord Police investigators will continue to conduct follow up interviews to determine if any other victims exist.
The Refuge Church said they are working with authorities with whatever they need for the investigation. Here’s their full statement:
“Our hearts go out to the victims and families affected by the alleged crimes committed by Brian Mahiques, who served on The Refuge Church staff as a youth pastor from 2005-2008. No accusations were made and we had no cause for suspicion while Brian was serving on our team. Brian has not been a part of our church since 2008. The first accusation was brought to our attention in February of 2019 when Founding and Lead Pastor, Jay Stewart, immediately contacted both the District Attorney and the Department of Social Services. This prompted an investigation by the Concord Police Department with which we have fully complied. The Refuge Church has always gone to great lengths to protect children and youth and to operate at the highest levels of accountability and integrity. We continue to pray for all who have been affected.”
Full statement from the Encounter Church:
“The board and senior leadership of Encounter Church and The Daniel Academy of Concord is aware of allegations that were brought forward concerning Pastor Brian Mahiques. We are waiting for the due process of law to unfold. Meanwhile, we pray for truth, light, and grace to abound, inviting the Spirit of God to lead us in these moments. Just as our church supports fellow members in good times, we also stand beside them offering prayer and strength in difficult times. We are supporting Pastor Sarah and the family in all ways possible and ask that people be respectful and mindful of the family as they are going through this. We are grateful for the loving response of the community. Our Lord Jesus Christ brings redemption out of the most troubling and tragic circumstances. As we seek what abundant life looks like in these times we will be partaking in communion daily and invite you to do the same.”
The Concord Police Department asks that anyone with information call 704-920-5000 or Cabarrus Area Crime Stoppers at 704-93-CRIME.