Orange County Pastor Accused of Child Molestation in Escondido; Police Seek Potential Additional Victims

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Orange County authorities are seeking information from the public after the head pastor of a Fountain Valley church was arrested in San Diego County last week on suspicion of child molestation.

John Rodgers McFarland, 66, of Fullerton, pictured in a photo released by the Fountain Valley Police Department following his arrest in Escondido on Dec. 18, 2018.

John Rodgers McFarland, 66, of Fullerton, pictured in a photo released by the Fountain Valley Police Department following his arrest in Escondido on Dec. 18, 2018.

John Rodgers McFarland, 66, of Fullerton was arrested Dec. 18 in Escondido on suspicion of molesting an underage girl, according to Escondido and Fountain Valley police officials. Details of the allegation against him were not available Friday afternoon.

McFarland works as the head pastor at Orangethorpe United Methodist Church in Fullerton since 2014, Fountain Valley Police Department officials said. He also serves as a chaplain for police and fire agencies, according to the church’s website.

Additionally, McFarland served as the head pastor fo Fountain Valley United Methodist Church from 1988 to 2014, and was a pastor at Surf City Church in Huntington Beach between 2009 and 2014, police said.

“There is evidence that McFarland abused other victims during his time as a pastor in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach,” the Fountain Valley Police Department said in a written statement.

Detectives in Escondido launched an investigation after an underage victim reported being molested by McFarland, Escondido Police Department Sgt. Joshua Langdon said.

After interviewing him and carrying out search warrants, investigators arrested McFarland on suspicion of felony child molestation, the sergeant said.

McFarland has since posted bail and was released from custody pending his initial court appearance, Langdon added.

Anyone with information, or anyone who has had a suspicious encounter with McFarland, is urged to contact Fountain Valley police Detective Scott at 714-593-4480.

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