|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 22, 2021
Case # 21CF2632
Public Information Officer
Office: 714-347-8405, Cell: 714-504-1917
SANTA ANA — A pastor has been charged with multiple felonies for sexually assaulting three young girls he met while attending church in Santa Ana. He became a pastor at another Santa Ana church following the alleged assaults and authorities are asking for the public’s help in identifying other possible victims.
Carlos Ramirez Valdez, 57, of Riverside, has been charged with five felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14 and three felony counts of oral copulation or sexual penetration of a child 10 or younger. The assaults occurred between 2014 and 2019.
He faces a maximum sentence of 120 years to life in state prison if convicted on all charges.
Valdez is being held on $1 million bail at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange. He is scheduled to be arraigned on October 6, 2021 in CJ1.
Valdez is currently a pastor of International Mission Church USA in Santa Ana. Valdez was a member of Iglesia De Dios Ebenezer Church in Santa Ana from 2014 to 2017. Valdez is accused of luring an 8-year-old girl into his van parked in the church parking lot or to the church’s basement to sexually assault the young girl repeatedly over a three-year period.
The girl reported the past abuse to a school counselor.
In January 2020, a girl reported to Garden Grove police that in 2015 Valdez sexually assaulted her when he gave her a ride home from church when the main pastor was not available. The girl was nine at the time of the assault.
Also in January 2020, another girl reported to Riverside police that in 2017 Valdez had sexually assaulted her when she was playing outside. She was eight at the time of the assault.
Authorities believe there may be additional victims given Valdez’ access to children in his current capacity as a pastor. Anyone with additional information about other potential victims is asked to contact Santa Ana Police Detective J. Gaeta at (714) 245-8350 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymous tips can also be made by calling Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.
“Churches should be safe sanctuaries not places where sexual predators groom unsuspecting children and prey on them,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “The sexual abuse of children is unacceptable and it will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Deputy District Attorney Christy Warden of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.