Ex-pastor who ran off with 16-year-old girl gets 5 years

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A former West St. Paul pastor who had sex with a 16-year-old parishioner and attempted to take her to Mexico was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison.

The Pioneer Press reports 39-year-old Gustavo Resendiz Talabera pleaded guilty to felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Two gross misdemeanor counts of deprivation of parental rights were dismissed as part of an amended plea deal with Dakota County prosecutors.

According to the charges, the West. St. Paul teen, who had just turned 16, didn't show up to school the morning of Sept. 26, 2012. She told her parents that she didn't feel well and went home sick.

When her mother and step-father returned home later that day, the girl was gone, along with some of her personal items.

Talabera's wife contacted the parents and told them she believed her husband and the girl had run away together. The pastor's wife said Talabera withdrew $3,000 in cash from their bank account and left in a green GMC Yukon.

The complaint states Talabera called his 15-year-old son.

"The son told officers that his father told him that he was having an affair and that the young woman he was with might be pregnant, and that is why they were attempting to flee to Mexico."

The 16-year-old texted her parents and asked them not to involve police and said she wanted to start a new life with Talabera.

On Sept. 27, police tracked down Talabera and the girl in Joliet, Illinois, where Talabera has relatives.

The Pioneer Press says Talabera will be given credit for the 224 days he's already spent in custody.

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