SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – A 57-year-old youth pastor has been charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl during a service at a Santa Ana church earlier this year.

Jonathan Lamont Jenkins was arrested Tuesday at a liquor store in Santa Ana on multiple charges of child abuse.

According to Santa Ana police, the sexual assault occurred in March 2018 at Starlight Baptist Church, located at 1201 West 2nd St., where Jenkins has been a youth pastor for the past two years.

According to police, Jenkins had begun making advances towards the victim beginning in January 2018.

In March, the victim was attending a service when she went to use what she thought was an empty restroom, police said. Jenkins, who was inside the restroom waiting for her, grabbed and threatened the girl, police said, before strangling and sexually assaulting her.

Jonathan Lamont Jenkins. (Santa Ana Police Department)

The girl did not immediately report the assault, police said, and continued attending the church. While at church on Aug. 5, the victim told investigators that Jenkins approached and mocked her regarding the sexual assault.

Police did not confirm exactly when the victim reported the assault, which prompted the investigation which led to Jenkins’ arrest.

Jenkins is being held on $1 million bail. Police believe he could have more victims. Anyone with information on the case should call detectives at 714-245-8368.


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