City News Service

Former Church Director Charged With Sexual Assault; Additional Victims Sought

Authorities were seeking additional possible victims of a former church youth director charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year- old girl in Buena Park.

Edmundo Nevarez, 44, of Pico Rivera pleaded not guilty on Thursday to two felony counts of lewd acts upon a child and one misdemeanor count of child annoyance, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office. Nevarez also faces a sentencing enhancement for substantial sexual conduct with a child.

If convicted, Nevarez faces a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration, prosecutors said.

"Nevarez was the director of youth at The Good Shepherd Family Bible Church in Whittier from 2002 to 2012,'' and "had access to over 50 female youth members at the church,'' according to Roxi Fyad of the OCDA.

Nevarez is accused of befriending the 14-year-old girl's family while he was an active member of the church, sending her "numerous sexually explicit texts'' in March 2015, and, in April 2015, driving her to an empty parking lot in Buena Park and sexually assaulting her, Fyad said.

A member of the girl's family found text messages from Nevarez on the child's phone and contacted Buena Park police, who began an investigation, Fyad said.

"The investigation in this case is ongoing,'' Fyad said.

Anyone with additional information or who believes they may have been a victim is encouraged to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Mark Gutierrez at (714) 347-8794.

Copyright City News Service

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