Hacienda Heights pastor charged with sex crimes against girls; additional victims sought

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A Hacienda Heights pastor has been charged with sex abuse against multiple victims after a woman reported he repeatedly sexually assaulted her in her home while she was a child, officials said Wednesday.

Jonathan Tsai is seen in an undated booking photo released Aug. 5, 2020, by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Jonathan Tsai is seen in an undated booking photo released Aug. 5, 2020, by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Detectives have so far identified three women who were minors when they were allegedly assaulted by Jonathan Tsai, and investigators believe the pastor could have assaulted additional victims, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

Tsai, 40, is currently the head pastor at Abundant Life Ministries, whose congregation is predominantly Chinese, authorities said.

The investigation began when the initial woman came forward on Jan. 9. She said her family became close with Tsai in her childhood, when they were members of the church Home of Christians Eastern Los Angeles Church and Tsai served as the youth pastor.

When she was between 12 and 18 years old, Tsai would allegedly sexually assault her on visits to her family’s home. The abuse continued throughout the six years, deputies said.

The two other victims identified so far reported similar circumstances.

West Covina police are also investigating Tsai in multiple sex assaults in their jurisdiction, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Tsai was arrested July 21 by L.A. County deputies and booked on $1.4 million bail. He posted bail three days later, officials said.  

County prosecutors have since charged the pastor with four counts of lewd acts on a child under 14, one count of oral copulation of a minor under 16, and one count of sexual penetration of a minor under 16, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

He is scheduled to return to court Aug. 26.

Anyone with information can contact the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau at 877-710-5273 or specialvictimsbureau@lasd.org. Anonymous tips may be submitted via 800-222-8477 or www.lacrimestoppers.org.

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