Alton pastor who pleaded guilty to sexual assaults seeking leniency

Melquisedec Chan walks from the courtroom during a break in his trial at the Hidalgo County Courthouse on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])
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During the third day of the punishment trial for the 58-year-old Alton pastor who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two women, witnesses described the pastor as “honest,” “transparent” and a “visionary.”

Melquisedec Chan pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault and two counts of practicing medicine without a license on Monday and is now, as his defense put it during opening arguments, seeking leniency from the jury.

Defense Attorney Carlos A. Garcia called in a pastor from La Feria who’s known Chan for over 40 years to testify before the court.

Orlando Ortiz testified that he met Chan through his parents in 1983 and that they have conducted missionary work together.

Ortiz described Chan as a visionary and when asked if Chan pleading guilty to sexually assaulting two women after sedating them changed his opinion of Chan, Ortiz said, “No, it does not.”

Garcia asked Ortiz if he believed Chan to be a danger to society.

“Personally, I don’t think so,” Ortiz said. “He’s been humbled.”

Ortiz testified that he knew Chan had pleaded guilty to the sexual assault charges, but wasn’t aware that he was practicing medicine out of the church.

Prosecutor Troy Justin Tijerina asked Ortiz if he’d agree that because he didn’t know that side of Chan, would it change his opinion of him, to which Ortiz answered no.

He still believes Chan to be a good man.

Similarly, a former banker and friend of Chan, Ruben Plata, testified that he had a positive opinion of Chan.

Plata described Chan as “honest” and “transparent.”

However, during his testimony, when asked if Plata would leave Chan alone with his wife after discovering what he had done to the victims in the case, Plata said he wouldn’t.

“I’ve never seen him as a bad person, I’ve never seen this side of him,” Plata said.

Melquisedec Chan looks away during testimony in his trial at the Hidalgo County Courthouse on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Plata added that he was surprised by the guilty plea.

Garcia spoke to Ortiz about how Chan is from across the Rio Grande and how he’s been compliant and cooperative throughout the duration of his house arrest, a sentiment echoed by the lead investigator, Marco Antonio Miranda of the Edinburg Police Department.

During Miranda’s testimony, Garcia asked if Chan had been resistant or uncooperative with police, to which Miranda said no.

Miranda agreed that Chan had been compliant and cooperative. Chan didn’t question or resist when he was put under arrest.

He added that Chan might’ve been a little deceptive during their interview at the police station, but he thought it was Chan being shy to confess when in the presence of a female officer.

Once that officer left the room, the soft-spoken Chan told the officers of what he had done.

Garcia also asked Miranda if the DNA from Chan had been used to solve other cases of unsolved sexual assaults. Miranda said no.

Chan was initially arrested on April 11, 2018 after two women reported to police that he had sedated and sexually assaulted them.

The brother of one of the victim’s caught one of those sexual assaults on camera.


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