According to the Orange County Register, 57-year-old Carlos Ramirez Valdez was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing three minors. Valdez gained access to his victims while he was the pastor at three churches located in Garden Grove, Riverside, and Santa Ana. He was a member at the Iglesia De Dios Ebenezer Church located at 2020 W Chestnut Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92703. He also served as pastor at International Mission Church USA, located at 505 S Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92701.
The first victim alleged that Valdez lured her into his van during Iglesia De Dios Ebenezer Church service. This abuse was said to take place from 2014 until 2017. The second victim reported to police in 2020 that Valdez abused her in 2017. The third victim's abuse allegedly took place in 2015.
On Friday, September 17, 2021, the Santa Ana Police arrested Valdez at his place of employment, a Los Alamitos construction site. He is facing 120 years to life, based on the following felony charges:
Attorney contributor Bobby Thompson is an experienced sexual abuse attorney in California that represents sexual abuse victims and their families. During an interview, Bobby highlighted the legal rights of victims sexually abused by their pastor.
"Churches have a legal and moral duty to protect the members of their congregation, especially the children. The position of a pastor is held in high regard as someone that is trusted and respected by all congregation members. However, we often see pastors and other clergy members take advantage of their positions and sexually abuse the congregation members. Churches and religious organizations must provide a level of abuse prevention or be held liable for sexual abuse crimes within their congregation. Background checks and installing surveillance cameras are good security measures."
"In the event of sexual abuse at a church, the victims and their families should gain the advice of an experienced sexual abuse attorney to explore their legal options fully. In some cases, abuse occurs due to the negligence of the church and its officials. This negligence can include if church officials were aware of previous misconduct by a clergy member yet chose to ignore them. In negligent cases, the victim's families may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit against the church."