A 67-year-old man and head pastor at a Fullerton church has been arrested and charged after prosecutors say he molested seven children ages five to 15 years old.
John Rodgers McFarland was arrested Friday, May 9. He has worked as a pastor in several Southern California churches for several years, prosecutors said on Monday, May 13.
He was 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, court records show.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office said McFarland committed the offenses between 2003 and 2017.
McFarland has been the head pastor at Orangethorpe United Methodist Church in Fullerton since 2016. Prosecutors say he was also a volunteer chaplain for the Fountain Valley police and fire departments.
From 2011 to 2016, McFarland was a pastor at Surf City Church in Huntington Beach. He was also senior pastor at Fountain Valley United Methodist Church for 26 years ending in 2016.
In his early work he was a youth pastor at the San Dieguito Methodist Church in Encinitas from 1978 to 1981, where he attended youth camps. His first appointment as a senior pastor was at Calexico United Methodist Church in Calexico from 1981 to 1988.
Last year McFarland was arrested by Escondido police for alleged incidents that happened in San Diego County.
McFarland was being held on $2 million bail at the Orange County Jail. If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum sentence of 179 years to life.
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