Church volunteer and former pastor arrested

Jose Andres Lopez, 67, of Mission Viejo, California. [Image credit: Orange County Sheriff's Department]

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A young woman came forward to the Orange County Sheriff's Department on August 23 to report that she had been repeatedly molested by a man beginning when she was under 10 years of age.

 

Sheriff's Officers began their investigation into the report and on August 26 arrested 67-year-old Jose Andres Lopez on charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child, oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 years or younger and aggravated sexual assault of a child.  He is being held by the Orange County Sheriff's Department on $1 million bail.

 

The day following his arrest, another victim came forward to report that she too had been molested by Lopez.

 

Investigators are aware that there are likely other victims due to Lopez's "continued access and contact with children over the past 17 years and his role with the church" their statement read.  They are asking that anyone with information, or that may have been a victim contact the Special Victims Detail at (714) 647-7419 or contact the Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS (1-855-847-6227) to remain anonymous.

 

Lopez is said to have pastored non-affiliated services at Pacific Hills Calvary Chapel in Aliso Viejo between 2003 and 2005.  Beginning in 2012, Lopez volunteered with Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo.

 

Dave Rolph, senior pastor at Pacific Hills Calvary Chapel told the Orange County Register that Lopez paid the church a "nominal fee" to use the facility for his own Spanish services where he served as pastor.  After about one year, Lopez moved his services.

 

A spokesman for Compass Bible, Brandon Mellor, is quoted as saying  that immediately upon hearing of the allegations, they verified that Lopez was never in a position where he would have been working with children.

 

“He never volunteered as a pastor at our church and he never volunteered in a role with kids in the children’s ministry at our church,” Mellor is quoted as saying in an e-mail.  "We have also had no complaints and nothing has raised suspicion while he has been on our campus or involved with any of our congregants."

 

One of the victims reported that she had met Lopez through one of the churches where he “had taken her and other children regularly back to his house after church events,” Orange County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Dennis Breckner said.  The other victim is said to have met Lopez outside of church.

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