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Anaheim church founder held on suspicion of teen sex assault

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Posted at 4:08 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 19:08:03-05

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The founder of a Southern California church has been arrested on suspicion of rape and other sex crimes involving three teenage girls, police said Friday.

Rolando Fuentes, 53, was arrested Thursday night.

Fuentes was involved with Centro Familiar Cristiano Peniel in Anaheim, a church he founded about two years ago whose parishioners come mainly from the Guatemalan immigrant community, police said at a news conference.

At one time, he was the lead pastor, but his role “had diminished in recent months," Sgt. Shane Carringer said.

Fuentes is suspected of molesting three teenagers he met at the church, police said.

The alleged victims were in their late teens at the time, although two are now adults, police said.

Police said they believe there may be other victims. Carringer urged them to come forward even if they might not be in the country legally.

“Our duty is to protect all members of the Anaheim community regardless of race or legal status,” he said. “We are here to provide you with services no matter what your background is.”

Fuentes was arrested on suspicion of rape, sexual battery, committing lewd acts with a minor, domestic battery and child annoyance, Carringer said.

He was being held on $1 million bail. It wasn't immediately known if he had obtained an attorney.