An Orange County religious nonprofit that prosecutors have linked to a former pastor accused of molestation has denied any ties to the suspect, the organization said in a statement.
Earlier this week, Orange County prosecutors announced that Douglas Dale Whinery, 80, had been arrested and accused of molesting two girls for years after he met them in Tustin in 2011. The girls are now 8 and 10, according to prosecutors.
Authorities said that Whinery had remained active at Olive Crest in Santa Ana, the Foothill Family Church in Foothill Ranch and the Grace Church in Yorba Linda until his arrest last week.
But an Olive Crest spokeswoman on Thursday said the faith-based nonprofit, which works with at-risk youths, has no record of Whinery working or volunteering with the group.
“Olive Crest is dedicated to guarding the safety and well-being of the children we serve,” the agency’s statement read. “Given our commitment to the safety of children, Olive Crest does not take allegations of this kind lightly. Our organization is always available to assist the District Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement entities. We have offered them our complete cooperation in this case.”
Though the group has no record of Whinery, an Orange County District Attorney’s spokeswoman said that an investigation connected him to the group.
In 2011, authorities said, Whinery approached the girls, who are related, in a Tustin park and befriended their family. Over the next 4½ years, Whinery gave the family money to find a place to live, took the girls to school and church and even had sleepovers at his home, prosecutors say. During that time, he sexually assaulted them repeatedly, authorities claim.
On March 28, the younger victim told a family member about the abuse, which was then reported to police. Whinery was arrested two days later and is being held without bail.
He’s been charged with four counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14 and two counts of oral copulation or sexual penetration of a child under 10, Orange County prosecutors said. Whinery is due back in court Tuesday.
Whinery faces up to 100 years to life in prison if convicted on all charges. Anyone with information about the case or who believes they may have been a victim is asked to call Dist. Atty. Investigator Mark Gutierrez at (714) 347-8794 or Tustin police at (714) 573-3257.
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