The pastor of the Muscoy United Methodist Church in San Bernardino has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing two boys, authorities said.
Stephen Howard, 54, of Fontana was arrested Thursday on suspicion of lewd acts with a child under 14 and oral copulation and sodomy with a person under 18, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. The alleged victims, now 14 and 23 years old, previously attended the church and said Howard gave them money in exchange for the sexual abuse, authorities said.
The 23-year-old told investigators the abuse started when he was 9, officials said.
Howard has been the lead pastor at the church since 2001 and was the youth director at an Ontario church from 1989 to 2001, authorities said. He is being held at the Central Detention Center in lieu of $250,000 bail.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about the case to call sheriff's Det. Jennifer Wood. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call (800) 782-7463 (800-78-CRIME) or leave a tip on www.wetip.com.