A Casper church leader who also worked for a government-funded disability services organization spent more than a decade abusing a woman by beating her, threatening her with weapons and choking her, police said in court documents made publicly available Friday.
Police arrested Raul A. Sanchez, 41, on Thursday afternoon at the disability agency’s Casper office without incident, according to jail records, court documents and a police statement released Friday morning. The documents state that Sanchez has a lawyer but do not identify the attorney by name.
Sanchez is expected to appear Friday afternoon in Natrona County Circuit Court, where prosecutors will formally charge him.
Court documents drafted by a Casper police detective state that Sanchez made some statements to police in an initial interview. After his arrest, Sanchez invoked his right to remain silent and requested a lawyer.
The documents state that police spoke with two women who described an ongoing pattern of abuse perpetrated by Sanchez. The women, who are not identified by name in copies of the documents provided to news outlets, both told a detective that Sanchez beat them and forced them to strip naked in public in order to humiliate them. They told a detective that Sanchez isolated them from other people by controlling their social media access and cell phone use.
The documents state that one of the women does not live in Wyoming. Her statements do not appear to make allegations of crimes committed within Casper police or Natrona County prosecutors’ jurisdiction.
The documents do state Sanchez told police he worked at a local church, and some congregants also spoke to police. Although the church is listed in the documents as the Four Corners Church, no such church appears to exist in Casper. The website for the Foursquare Gospel, however, indicates Sanchez works at its Casper location.
The evangelical Christian denomination’s website listed on Friday morning a person named Rev. Raul Sanchez as leader of the Living Rock Church on South Forest Drive in Casper. A message left at the church’s central office was not immediately returned. The phone line at the church’s local office was busy.
Court documents also make reference to Sanchez’s office at NOWCAP, a statewide organization providing help with career development, job training, housing and medical needs to people with disabilities.
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The organization’s website on Friday morning listed Sanchez as business development and community services director in the Casper office. By 11:45 a.m., Sanchez’s name and photo no longer appeared on the online list of leadership. Executive Director Renate Pullen did not immediately respond to a late Friday morning voicemail requesting comment for this story and inquiring about Sanchez’s employment status.
“In horrible situations like this, we do everything we can to help the victim,” Detective Chase Nash said in a Friday morning statement provided by the police department. “We are here for the long haul. Whatever they need.”
The documents do not state how police began investigating the case.
One of the woman — who was in a relationship with Sanchez for years, when she lived in a different Wyoming town — said that about 15 years ago, after years of abuse, Sanchez beat her and threatened to kill her if she did not leave a house they shared, according to the documents. She spent a mid-winter night in an open garage, she told the detective. Sanchez was later convicted of reckless endangerment, the documents state.
The second woman described to police a pattern of abuse largely similar to that described by the other survivor, who now lives in a different state, according to the documents.
The woman said that shortly after she and Sanchez became involved, about 15 years ago, Sanchez became possessive and controlling, according to the documents. She told a detective that Sanchez made her strip naked in his NOWCAP office, the documents state. At home, she said, Sanchez beat her, and when she fell, kicked her as she lay on the ground.
She said Sanchez beat her with a baseball bat, pointed a handgun at her and threatened to kill her, according to the documents. Sanchez beat her, causing a miscarriage, strangled her and grabbed her by the hair, hitting her head against furniture, the documents state.
One person who knew the local woman spoke to church leadership, she told police. When she told a pastor that Sanchez abused the woman, the person said the pastor told her the abuse was the victim’s fault, according to the documents.
The other pastor is not named in the documents.