Former Costa Mesa commissioner, volunteer held on suspicion of sexually assaulting minors

Mark Allen Korando, 69, of Costa Mesa
Mark Allen Korando, 69, of Costa Mesa was arrested Monday on suspicion of sexually assaulting two underage girls, according to police officials.
(Courtesy of Costa Mesa Police Department)

Police officers on Monday arrested a 69-year-old Costa Mesa resident who formerly served in several civic positions and with organizations throughout Orange County, on suspicion of sexually assaulting two underage girls and are seeking to identify possible additional victims.

Mark Allen Korando was arrested and booked Monday on suspicion of digital penetration of a victim under 10, lewd acts on a child and continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, according to a release issued Tuesday by the Costa Mesa Police Department.

Costa Mesa Police began investigating Korando after the mother of two girls — a 14-year-old and her sister, aged 12 — contacted law enforcement in September and alleged she’d recently learned the man had inappropriately touched the children, the release stated.

Detectives later interviewed the girls, with assistance from the Child Abuse Services Team, and learned the sexual assault had reportedly begun approximately two years earlier, the release stated.

During their investigation, detectives learned Korando is a member of a local church located on the 1700 block of Baker Street, where he had occasion to chaperone groups of girls on out-of-state trips as part of a church-led effort to support communities in need.

A man was arrested Tuesday after entering a Costa Mesa store without a facial covering and confronting officers who repeatedly asked him to mask up or leave.

A website maintained by Mesa-Verde United Methodist Church, whose location coincides with the block and street listed in the release, names Korando in connection with multiple acts of service.

Authorities located the suspect Monday at his home, where he was interviewed and subsequently arrested and booked at the Costa Mesa Police Department. As of Tuesday, he was being held at the Orange County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

Newspaper archives indicate the Costa Mesa resident worked for 22 years as a volunteer and later as senior vice president for the Orange County chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Santa Ana, from which he retired in 2017, according to an organization newsletter.

He was appointed to the Costa Mesa Planning Commission in 1991 and later resigned in 1996 for appointment to the board of directors of the Mesa Consolidated Water District.

Also in 1991, Korando was short-listed for appointment to the Costa Mesa City Council in a seat left vacant by the resigning Councilman Ed Glasgow. He ran for the City Council three years later but secured less than 9% of the vote, an archived article in the Daily Pilot reported.

From 2005 to 2007, Korando was a senior building inspector in the city of Irvine. He also reportedly worked as a plan check inspector in the city of Downey from 2008 until 2019.

Detectives with the Costa Mesa Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying other potential victims to whom Korando may have had access through his involvement with the local church and the community.

Anyone who may have additional information, or who believes they may have been a victim, is asked to call Det. Dan Holl at (714) 754-4873 or Sgt. Scott Stafford at (714) 754-4933.

Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.