On behalf of Law Offices of Kathleen G. Alvarado posted in criminal law on Friday, October 19, 2018.

A pastor in Santa Ana, California, which many would recognize as a city less than an hour’s drive from Riverside, is facing serious legal trouble after a teenage girl, who was part of his congregation, accused him of assault.

According to reports, the pastor, who had served as youth pastor for 2 years, was in a restroom designated for women, awaiting a 13-year-old female. Police think that when the girl entered the bathroom, the pastor grabbed her around the neck to keep her from running and then touched her in a sexual manner.

This incident supposedly happened several months ago. At some point last summer, on a Sunday, the pastor supposedly indicated that if he were asked about the incident, he would imply the encounter was consensual. A judge set the man’s bail at $1 million, and police are encouraging other accusers to come forward.

When someone who is a religious leader or who is otherwise thought of as an example in his or her community gets in to legal trouble, the professional and personal fallout can be devastating. This is especially true when there are criminal charges related to sexual misconduct, and particularly misconduct involving children.

It is important to remember, though, that this point, the allegations against the youth pastor are just that, allegations. The man will have an opportunity to defend himself against these charges and will have a chance either to deny the allegations outright or explain what really happened. In order to do this, however, the man will likely want the help of a skilled advocate with experience in criminal law in California.