Southern California Pastor Charged With 11 Counts of Child Molestation

Case # 19WF1107

Victims Ranged in Age from Five to 15 Years Old

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man who served as a head pastor at several Southern California churches faces 11 child molestation charges for victimizing seven children ranging in age from five to 15 years old.

John Rodgers McFarland, 67, of Fullerton was arrested on May 9, 2019. He is charged with seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14, and four felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor between the ages of 14 and 15.

Prosecutors allege the molestations for the current offenses occurred between 2003 and 2017.

McFarland is currently being held on $2 million bail at the Orange County Jail. He faces a maximum sentence of 179 years to life if convicted on all counts.

McFarland has been the head pastor at Orangethorpe United Methodist Church in Fullerton since 2016. He also served as a volunteer chaplain for the Fountain Valley Police Department and Fountain Valley Fire Department.

McFarland was a pastor at Surf City Church in Huntington Beach between 2011 and 2016, and served as senior pastor at Fountain Valley United Methodist Church for 26 years from 1988 to 2016. He served as a youth pastor at the San Dieguito Methodist Church in Encinitas from 1978 to 1981 and attended Christian Youth Camps during his ministry there. McFarland’s first appointment as senior pastor was at Calexico United Methodist Church in Calexico, where he served from 1981 to 1988.

He is scheduled to be arraigned on May 13, 2019 in Department CJ-1.

Deputy District Attorney Ann Fawaz of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.