The Department of Corrections is starting its pre-trial investigation into a local pastor accused of running away with a 16-year-old parishioner after possibly getting the girl pregnant.
Gustavo Resendiz Talabera, 39, of West St. Paul, is charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. He is also facing two gross misdemeanor charges of deprivation of custodial or parental rights, each of which has a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $4,000 fine.
Talabera is not expected to register a plea until the completion of the pre-sentence investigation. An omnibus hearing has been set for March 25.
Talabera was extradited from Illinois, where he and the girl were found on Sept. 27.
Authorities say Talabera called his 15-year-old son on Sept. 26 and allegedly said he was having an affair with the girl, and that she might be pregnant. Talabera said they were planning to flee to Mexico, where Talabera has relatives, according to court documents.
The girl, who turned 16 in June, sent a text message to her mother and stepfather, telling them that she wanted to “start a new life” with Talabera and asking them to keep police out of it, according to the criminal complaint.
The girl was taken into protective custody after she was found in Illinois with Talabera.