Cult Child Sex Abuse Arrest in Las Vegas

Metro arrests self-proclaimed ‘prophet’ in child sex case
By Cara McCoy (contact)
Las Vegas Sun
July 3, 2009

A 75-year-old self-proclaimed prophet and church leader from Las Vegas was arrested Friday on multiple charges of sex crimes against children, Metro Police said. Benito Catello is charged with 29 felonies, including sexual assault, sexual assault with a victim under 14 years of age and lewdness with a minor under 14 years of age.

Catello, who police described as a self-proclaimed “prophet” and leader of The Ministry, a church run out of his home near Owens Avenue and Mount Hood Street in northeast Las Vegas, is being held on bail of $295,000, according to Clark County Detention Center records.

A 48-hour hearing is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about Benito -- including other possible victims -- to contact the Metro Crimes Against Youth and Family Bureau at 828-3421. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers at 385-5555.

Catello is described as white, 5-foot-5 and 155 pounds with gray hair and blue eyes. Police said in recent years he might no longer wear the beard shown in his mug shot, which authorities said isn’t a recent photo.

Investigators said they weren’t releasing other details Friday but planned to discuss the case on Monday.

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