Choir Assistant Held on Molestation Counts

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Van Nuys man has been charged with nine felony counts of child molestation for allegedly abusing three children he met as a volunteer church youth choir assistant, police said Wednesday.

Ray Love, 35, was also charged Tuesday with one count of possessing child pornography. Love has been a registered sex offender since a 1998 conviction for having child pornography, police said.

Love was being held Wednesday on $490,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 22 in Van Nuys. He could not be reached for comment.

In addition to working in the choir, police said, Love spent several years working with young people as a bandleader and a youth hockey coach throughout the Los Angeles area.

Police said the victims were boys who were 12 to 16 when the crimes occurred.

Love was arrested near his home Saturday morning after a church pastor brought a young man to detectives who had allegedly been abused by Love, police said. Detectives said they discovered pornographic images of minors printed off the Internet when they searched Love's home.

Another alleged victim came forward Wednesday, an adult man who told police he was sexually abused by Love when he was 12, said Det. Dale Barraclough of the Los Angeles Police Department's sexually exploited child unit.

Capt. Charlie Beck of the LAPD's Juvenile Division said the man also knew Love through the choir.

"All the alleged crimes took place in the suspect's home," Barraclough said. "It's not like he's an abductor. He gains their trust and becomes friends with the kids. Some of the kids didn't realize what was going on, what impact it would have on their lives or even that it was illegal."

Beck said the youth groups were unaware that Love was a sex offender, and could not say whether the organizations had conducted background checks that might have revealed Love's status. He declined to identify the groups.

Barraclough said police believe there may be additional victims, male and female, and urged anyone with information to contact the LAPD's sexually exploited child unit at (213) 485-2883 or after hours at (213) 485-2504.

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