SANTA ANA (CNS) - A Santa Ana pastor was charged today with sexually assaulting three girls he met through churches in Riverside, Garden Grove and Santa Ana.
Carlos Ramirez Valdez, 57, of Riverside, was charged with five counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor younger than 14 and three counts of oral copulation or sexual penetration of a child 10 or younger, all felonies. He also faces a sentencing enhancement for multiple victims.
Valdez was arrested Friday at a Los Alamitos construction site where he works, according to Santa Ana Police Cpl. Sonia Rono.
Valdez was being held on $1 million bail, according to jail records.
Valdez is pastor of International Mission Church USA at 505 S. Main St., Rono said. From 2014-2017, he was a member of Iglesia De Dios Ebenezer Church at 2020 W. Chestnut Ave. in Santa Ana, Rono said.
At that church he allegedly lured an 8-year-old girl into a van during a service and sexually assaulted her, Rono said. Valdez is accused of repeatedly assaulting the girl in the van over a period of three years.
Another victim told Riverside police in January 2020 she was molested by Valdez in 2017 when she was 8, Rono said. Also in January 2020, another alleged victim went to Garden Grove police saying Valdez molested her in 2015, according to the corporal.
Orange County prosecutors will handle the case against Valdez for the alleged crimes in Riverside County.