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Youth pastor arrested on child porn charge in Oakdale, Calif.

A 27-year-old youth pastor in Oakdale, Calif., was arrested Monday on suspicion of possessing child pornography.

Acting on a tip, Tyler Bliss was arrested after two search warrants were served -- one at his home in Oakdale -- northwest of Modesto -- the other at Bethel Assembly of God, where he oversaw the junior high, high school and college ministries, Fox 40 reported.

Carissa Higginbotham, a spokeswoman for the nearby Ceres Police Department, said images retrieved from computers and electronic devices during the searches appeared to show children under the age of 13 engaged in sexual acts.

“We were very concerned because of the access he has to children,” she told the Modesto Bee.

Ceres police investigated the case because the department has the high-tech capabilities and investigating resources for computer forensics, Higginbotham added.

Investigators were still trying to determine whether Bliss allegedly produced the images, or merely had them in his possession.

Bliss' church profile -- which has since been removed -- indicated he'd been overseeing youth programs since 2009, during which "Tyler has had the privilege of seeing hundreds of teenagers come to Christ throughout his ministry here at Bethel," the Bee reported.

Bliss was booked into Stanislaus County jail after detectives pulled him over Monday in Oakdale during a traffic stop and arrested him.

The church board of directors issued a statement to CBS Sacramento on Monday evening, expressing its "extreme shock" over the arrest and pledging to work with investigators. Police asked that anyone with information on the case contact Det. Britton Moore at (209) 538-5627, or anonymously at (866) 60-CRIME.

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jason.wells@latimes.com

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