The 57-year-old man had been making advances toward the 13-year-old girl at Starlight Baptist Church in Santa Ana, California, since January, reported KABC.
In March, he hid in wait in a women’s restroom at the church for the girl, then choked and sexually assaulted her, reported the Santa Ana Police Department in a statement.
Officers on Tuesday arrested Jonathan Lamont Jenkins of Riverside, a youth pastor at the church, on suspicion of the attack, police reported.
Jenkins has been a Starlight Baptist Church member since 2012 and a youth pastor for two years, reported KTLA.
When the girl didn’t initially report the assault, Jenkins mocked her in August at the church, saying that if she went to police he’d tell investigators she invited the attack, reported KABC.
Jenkins faces charges of aggravated sexual assault of a minor, reported The Orange County Register. His bail has been set at $1 million.
Police said Jenkins has a long criminal history with previous convictions for robbery, burglary, criminal threats and narcotics violations, reported KTLA.
“The way he handled this child, in the manner he handled this child, in the location he handled this child, leads them to believe that potentially there are other victims out there,” police Corporal Anthony Bertagna said, according to the station.
Santa Ana police asked that anyone with information on the case contact detective Nick Vega at 714-245-8368, firstname.lastname@example.org or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.