A pastor of an Orange County church has been accused of molesting two boys, both of whom are just 11 years old. According to a story in the Orange County Register, the pastor of the Laguna Hills church, Oscar Perez, was arrested last weekend, and bail has now been set at 1 million dollars. Perez is facing four felony counts (two as to each boy) and, if convicted, he could face up to life in prison.
Perez is accused of assaulting the boys at Perez' Lake Forest home, and apparently one of the alleged victims claims to have been abused during a sleepover. According to court records cited by the Register, prosecutors accuse Perez of abusing one of the boys in July, and the other sometime between 2008 and September 2011. Perez, identified as a bishop of the Old Catholic Church, rented space at an Episcopal church in Laguna Hills and celebrated Mass once a week, officials said. Spokesmen for the Episcopal and Roman Catholic dioceses said his church was not affiliated with them. Authorities are asking anyone who believes they were a victim, or who has additional information on the case, to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Lou Gutierrez at 714-347-8794.
See the Orange County Register story HERE.
It is not clear from the story above how Perez managed to arrange time alone with the boys and whether his church affiliation had anything to do with that. In general, the possibility exists that pedophiles will use any position of authority to gain legitimate access to young boys in order to seduce the more susceptible ones into sexual activity. Unfortunately sex abuse in this context is more common than accidental deaths and serious injuries combined. It is well recognized that children engaged in organized group overnight activities are at risk of foreseeable sexual abuse. It is certain that there exists in our society the constant possibility that persons suffering from a lack of proper mental balance or normal decency might subject young people to sexual molestation. This fact is often illustrated by mass media accounts of crimes against children. The general feeling of the public that this problem does exist in a threatening way has led to the conclusion by many courts of this State that those charged with the care of children are obligated to guard against sexual abuse. Liability generally follows where the abuse is foreseeable.
Compensation for victims of sexual abuse and harassment committed by people in a position of authority should be an important concern for all Californians. When an adult engages in sexual abuse of a child they should be held accountable, and their victims should be compensated. An Orange County injury attorney with experience at handling sexual abuse cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has 20 years of experience handling personal injury and sexual misconduct cases, including just this type. He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.
Have you or a loved one been a victim of sexual misconduct?
- Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.