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EDINBURG — Melquisedec Chan, the 58-year-old pastor from Alton who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two women he had sedated, was sentenced to 12 years in prison Thursday evening.
Chan, who’s been free on $340,000 in bonds since May 10, 2018, held his head down and appeared stoic as the sentence was read in the courtroom.
The jury deliberated for three hours before returning with the sentence, ending four days of testimony from 10 witnesses including the defendant.
During the victim impact statement, both women he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting addressed their attacker directly.
One victim said God directed her words.
“I forgive you, because that’s what God demands of me,” she said in Spanish as she trembled.
The wife and daughter of the accused exited the courtroom when the victims made their statements.
Chan’s family was also in tears when they learned his sentence, which was 12 years for each of two counts of aggravated sexual assault. They’re running concurrently.
He was also charged with practicing medicine without a license, but will receive community supervision for that charge.
Edinburg police arrested Chan on April 11, 2018 on allegations of sedating and sexually assaulting a woman who said he was — in addition to being the founder and pastor of Vida Abundante Church in Alton — a family doctor.
The woman told police he was following up with her on a surgery at the time of the assault.
Chan had also been accused of sexual assault by a McAllen woman in a similar case in 2015.
The prosecution argued this week that Chan broke his oaths to practice medicine, and as a pastor and a husband, and “used his power for his personal gain” in crimes that “started with greed” and “ended with lust.”
Chan’s defense attorney, Carlos A. Garcia, pointed to his work founding an orphanage in Reynosa, and called on a fellow pastor from La Feria and a banker and friend to testify about Chan’s character.
In their closing statements, Garcia spoke of redemption and asked the jury if they believed in second chances.
State prosecutor Troy Tijerina ended his closing arguments by posing a question to the jury: “If [Chan] wasn’t caught in 2018, would he have stopped?”