Southern California Pastor Arrested on Suspicion of Child Molestation

A man who served as a head pastor at several Southern California churches faces child molestation charges, police said Friday. 

John Rodgers McFarland, 66, was arrested on Dec. 18 in Fullerton, Calif. for an incident that allegedly occurred while he was visiting relatives in Escondido. 

He's accused of two felony charges of lewd act upon a child that occurred between July 26, 2012 and July 23, 2013, according to a criminal complaint provided by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. The child is identified in the complaint as a girl under the age of 14. 

McFarland has worked and lived in the Orange County area so law enforcement authorities believe there may be additional victims, according to Gloria Scott with the Fountain Valley Police Department. 

Investigators executed search warrants at McFarland's Fullerton home, his place of employment and the Fountain Valley Methodist Church. 

McFarland is the current pastor at Orangethorpe United Methodist Church in Fullerton, Calif. where he has worked since 2014. Prior to that, he served as the head pastor of Fountain Valley United Methodist Church for 26 years, police said. 

He also served as a pastor at Surf City Church in Huntington Beach from 2009 to 2014. 

"There is evidence that McFarland abused other victims during his time as a pastor in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach," Fountain Valley police said in a news release.

McFarland worked as a chaplain within the Fountain Valley Police Department from 1993 to 2014, according to Sgt. Antonius Spangler. 

Anyone who has information regarding this case can call Detective Scott with the Fountain Valley Police Department at (714) 593-4480 and mention Incident #18-44828.

McFarland was booked into the Vista Detention Facility and has a court hearing scheduled for Jan. 16 in San Diego Superior Court.

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