SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 67-year-old Fullerton man, who was a pastor at multiple churches was arrested for molesting seven children, some as young as 5-years-old.
The head pastor faces 11 counts of child molesting, with seven victims, ages 5 to 15-years-old between 2003 and 2017. John Rodgers McFarland was arrested on Thursday, May 9, 2019. Orange County District Attorney officials said, that he is charged with seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14, and four felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor between the ages of 14 and 15.
“McFarland has been the head pastor at Orangethorpe United Methodist Church in Fullerton since 2016,” District Attorney officials said in a written statement. “He also served as a volunteer chaplain for the Fountain Valley Police Department and Fountain Valley Fire Department.” From 2011 to 2016, McFarland was a pastor at Surf City Church in Huntington Beach and from 1988 to 2016, he was a senior pastor at Fountain Valley United Methodist Church. McFarland’s first appointment as senior pastor was at Calexico United Methodist Church in Calexico, where he served from 1981 to 1988. In addition, from 1978 to 1981, he served as a youth pastor at the San Dieguito Methodist Church in Encinitas, where during his ministry there he attended Christian Youth Camps.
McFarland is currently being held on $2 million bail at the Orange County Jail. He faces a maximum sentence of 179 years to life if convicted on all counts. He is scheduled to be arraigned on May 13, 2019.
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