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Santeria Priest Told Teenage Girl That Rape Was Part Of Healing Ritual, Police Say

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Police are looking for a Santeria priest who allegedly tricked a teenage girl into thinking that sexual assault was part of a 'healing ritual.'Pablo Pinto Mata, a 46-year-old Santeria priest, is on the run after police say he raped a 16-year-old girl while performing a healing ritual on her, the SGV Tribune reports. Mata often performed rituals at his business Los Angeles Import, a botanica located in the 2400 block of W. Whittier Blvd. in Montebello.

Police say that in 2013, Mata had three sessions with the girl. Each time, he had her remove her clothes. The third time, he allegedly sexually assaulted her, telling her that it was part of the ritual. The victim did not tell her mother about what happened until 2014 because she was afraid of Mata. She said Mata told her that the spirits would be able to find her.

Police talked with Mata in 2014, and he was charged with rape and lewd acts with a minor in early 2015. However, authorities can't find him. They are looking for other victims and anyone with information as to Mata's current whereabouts.

Mata is a 46-year-old Hispanic man, about 5'5" and 175 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. Investigators are asking that anyone with information contact Det. Alfred Martinez at 323-887-1248.

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Santeria is a Caribbean religion that combines Yoruba mythology with Catholicism.