Orange County

Orange County Church Camp Counselor Accused of Molesting Children

Detectives believe there may be more possible victims, as the suspect worked with children since December 2018.

A 19-year-old part-time church camp counselor in Orange County was accused Thursday of molesting two 8-year-olds, leading detectives to believe there may be other possible additional victims.

Nicolas David Cruz was arrested on suspicion of committing lewd acts Wednesday, Irvine police said.

Cruz worked at the Mission Viejo Christian Church as a part-time counselor this summer, police said.

The mother of an 8-year-old went to the Orange County Sheriff's Department Tuesday, July 23, alleging her child had been sexually assaulted by Cruz on the bus ride home from a church camp activity in Irvine.

Cruz was arrested, and police said he was immediately fired from the church.

Later Thursday, Irvine police announced a second 8-year-old victim had been identified, but released few details.  

Investigators believe there may be other possible victims, as Cruz began working at Mission Viejo Christian Church in December of 2018.

He worked with children ages 5 to 11 years old in 2018, and children ages 8 and 9 during the summer.

Concerned parents can call Detective Mudassar Mahmood at 949-724-7130 or contact him via email at if they believe their children may have been victimized.

Cruz remained behind bars at Orange County Jail Thursday. 

The Mission Viejo Christian Church released a statement in light of the accusations. 

"It is with a heavy heart that we share with you that yesterday an allegation of inappropriate behavior was made against one of our Kids Club Summer Camp Counselors. We are fully cooperating with the authorities and the matter is still under investigation. Safety is of the utmost importance and a top priority in our ministry, so hearing of this allegation is shocking and disheartening. This employee had completed a full criminal background check with the Department of Justice and had no record of arrest or criminal charges. The employee has been terminated.

We ask that you join us in praying for all those involved, including prayer for investigators as they determine all of the facts. It is our desire to be fully transparent and for the whole truth to be revealed so that the restoration process can begin. Please lift up our children, parents, Kids Club team, and church family as we seek the Lord’s comfort, discernment, direction, and protection."

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