A 30-year-old man who worked with the youth ministry at a Ventura church has been charged with a sex crime against a minor, officials announced Wednesday.
James Edward Duran II, of Ventura, faces a count of oral copulation of a minor under the age of 16 by a person over the age of 21, and one count of oral copulation of a minor under the age of 18, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.
Duran was allegedly involved in ongoing sexual activity with a minor from 2013 to 2015, when the victim was was 14 to 16 years old. He had access to the minor while working at the River Community Church, where he was involved with the youth ministry, officials said. The Ventura County Star reported Duran worked as a youth pastor at the church.
Duran was arrested by detectives with the Ventura Police Department on Dec. 8. He was released after posting a $50,000 bail bond, authorities said.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges Wednesday and is scheduled to appear in court for an early disposition conference on Jan. 20.