Three ministers at a Pentecostal church in Chula Vista, including the pastor and the school principal, were arrested this week in a child-molestation case that surfaced after one of two alleged victims told a private lawyer that she had been abused over the last four years.
Lyn Meche, a preacher at the South Bay Pentecostal Church, was charged with four counts of felony child molestation and two counts of misdemeanor molestation against one victim, and with one count of sexual battery against the second victim.
Meche, 38, was arrested Monday at his home in Paradise Hills.
Arthur E. Hodges III, 32, the church pastor, and George Nobbs, 32, an assistant pastor and principal of the church’s South Bay Christian Academy, were booked Wednesday on suspicion of failing to report sexual abuse to the proper authorities.
The three ministers could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
A church receptionist, who asked not to be identified, said many church members were aware of the police investigation. But she said the church will survive despite the crisis in its leadership.
“I don’t think this will hurt the church too much,” she said.
She said the 500-member congregation was formed about 25 years ago and the church moved two years ago from National City to its current, larger site at 395 D St. in Chula Vista. She said the school, with classes from pre-kindergarten through high school, has an enrollment of about 80.
Police Detective Michael Duffy and Caryn S. Rosen, a deputy district attorney, said one of the victims, a teen-age student at the church school, first told Hodges that she had been abused, but that Hodges and Nobbs did not report the allegations to authorities.
She later repeated the allegations to her boyfriend’s lawyer, who contacted police, Duffy said.