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Costa Mesa man, former church chaperone pleads guilty to sexually assaulting sisters, will serve 20 years

Mark Allen Korando, 70, pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually assaulting two minors in 2016 and 2018.
(File Photo)

A Costa Mesa man who may have used his volunteer position at a local church to sexually assault two underage sisters on Tuesday pleaded guilty to all charges against him and was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison.

Mark Allen Korando, 70, appeared in a Westminster courtroom, where he pleaded guilty to four counts of forcible lewd acts on a child and six counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor younger than 14. His plea comes more than a year after his arrest on Nov. 23, 2020.

For the record:

12:45 p.m. Dec. 3, 2021An earlier version of this story indicated that Mark Allen Korando may have committed sexual assault while serving as a church volunteer. While he may have served as a church chaperone at the time of the incidents, it has not been confirmed that he committed such acts through his affiliation with the church.

Costa Mesa police began investigating Korando in September 2020, after the mother of two girls contacted the department saying she’d recently learned he’d inappropriately touched her children, CMPD reported. When detectives and members of a Child Abuse Services Team interviewed the victims, they learned the sexual assault had started two years earlier.

Korando, then a member of a church on the 1700 block of Costa Mesa’s Baker Street, occasionally chaperoned a group of girls out of state as part of a church-led effort to support communities in need, police reported.

At the time of his arrest, a website maintained by Mesa-Verde United Methodist Church, whose location at 1701 Baker St. coincides with the block and street named by the police, listed Korando as an active member and volunteer.

Court records indicate the assault took place on at least two different occasions, in March 2016 and April 2018. On Tuesday, a judge sentenced Korando to serve four consecutive five-year terms in addition to six additional three-year terms, the latter of which he will serve concurrently with the former.

Korando served on the Costa Mesa Planning Commission in the 1990s, according to newspaper archives. In 1991, he was short-listed for appointment to the City Council in a seat left vacant by the resigning Councilman Ed Glasgow. He ran for a council seat in 1994 but secured less than 9% of the vote.

He is scheduled to appear in a court on Dec. 10 for a firearms relinquishment hearing.

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