Youth Pastor Arrested for Aggravated Sexual Assault of Student


SANTA ANA, Calif. – A youth pastor in Santa Ana was arrested on Tuesday for aggravated sexual assault of a young girl at their church.

Detectives of the Santa Ana Police Department arrested Jonathan Lamont Jenkins, 57, for aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to the agency.

Jenkins has been a youth pastor at the Starlight Baptist Church located at 1201 West Second Street in Santa Ana for the past two years. Although he resides in Riverside, he has been a member of the Santa Ana congregation since 2012.

The 13-year-old female victim reported Jenkins had been making sexual advances towards her since January 2018 when she was only 12-years-old. Sometime in March 2018, the victim was attending service when she went to, what she believed to be, an empty restroom. Jenkins was inside the restroom waiting for her.

The young girl attempted to escape, but Jenkins held her against her will. Moreover, he threatened the teen with physical violence before strangling and sexually assaulting her, according to police.

youth pastor
Jonathan Lamont Jenkins, 57, was arrested for aggravated sexual assault of a child. (Santa Ana Police Department)

The victim did not immediately report this incident and continued attending church. On August 5, 2018, Jenkins contacted the girl at church and mocked her about the sexual assault. Jenkins told the victim if she reported this to the police, he would say she allowed the sexual assault to occur.

child abuse

As a result of the allegation, detectives launched an investigation. Consequently, they obtained evidence against Jenkins, SAPD reported.

On October 2, 2018, detectives arrested Jenkins as he entered a liquor store in Santa Ana. He was booked at the Orange County Jail on multiple child abuse charges and his bail has been set at $1,000,000.

The Santa Ana Police Department believe there may be additional victims and ask anyone with information to contact Detective Nick Vega at 714-245-8368, [email protected] or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.

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