Orange County Sunday School Teacher Accused of Molestation

Dozens of church members on Monday night met to discuss the allegations against a volunteer Sunday school teacher.

By John Cadiz Klemack
|  Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012  |  Updated 12:00 AM PDT
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Hours after a volunteer Sunday school teacher appeared in court on charges he molested four boys, members of RockHarbor Church gathered Monday night to discuss the path forward. John Cadiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Dec. 3, 2012.

Hours after a volunteer Sunday school teacher appeared in court on charges he molested four boys, members of RockHarbor Church gathered Monday night to discuss the path forward. John Cadiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Dec. 3, 2012.

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OC Sunday School Teacher Accused of Molestation

Christopher Bryan McKenzie Sr., 48, appeared in court Monday in a molestation case dating back to the 1990s. Two people have come forward in the case saying they were victimized when they were 8 and 16 years old. Investigators believe there are more victims out there. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Dec. 3, 2012.
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Hours after a volunteer Sunday school teacher appeared in court on charges he molested four boys, members of RockHarbor Church gathered Monday night to discuss the path forward.

About 60 people attended the meeting, which was not open to the media.

"It's not easy," said Jim Masteller, who runs a therapy group offering resources to the church. "And I think parents have to deal with their own anxiety, they have to be willing to check resources, talk to a therapist … do what's best for your child."

Christopher Bryan McKenzie Sr., 48, of Costa Mesa, made his initial court appearance Monday. He was ordered held without bail pending arraignment, which was rescheduled to Dec. 21.

McKenzie is accused of molesting one boy from 1996 through 2002, another from 2005 through 2007, the third alleged victim from 2009 through 2011 and the fourth from 2010 through this year, Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Herrera said.

Authorities are not providing additional details because they suspect there are more alleged victims and do not want to compromise the investigation, Herrera said.

The alleged molestation of some of the boys began when they were 8 years old and some were older, Herrera said.

Authorities did not reveal where the alleged molestations occurred or his relationship to the boys, though Herrera said the “majority of the conduct was in Newport Beach.”

McKenzie was arrested Friday in Santa Ana, according to Kathy Lowe of the Newport Beach Police Department, who said the alleged molestations of the first two alleged victims occurred prior to when he began volunteering at the RockHarbor church campus in Costa Mesa.

Church officials said McKenzine taught fourth and fifth grade students.

In a statement to NBC4, the pastor said, "Both families had willingly entered into relationships with Chris beyond RH weekend services and gatherings."
McKenzie most recently has been working as a pool cleaner throughout Orange County, Lowe said.

He is charged with 10 counts of lewd acts on a child younger than 14, four counts of using a minor for the distribution of obscene matter and two counts of distributing pornography to a minor, all felonies. He also faces sentence-enhancing allegations of substantial sexual conduct with a child, according to prosecutors.

Anyone with information about McKenzie is asked to call Newport Beach police at (949) 644-3776, (949) 644-3772 or (800) 550-NBPD, or Supervising District Attorney Investigator Lou Gutierrez, (714) 347-8794.

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