Police arrest molestation suspect

Newport Beach police arrested a Costa Mesa man Saturday suspected of having inappropriate sexual relationships that spanned years with at least two boys.

Christopher Bryan McKenzie, 48, allegedly sexually abused at least two victims between the ages of 8 and 16. Newport Beach police said both victims, now adults, contacted police separately early last week.

One victim was abused from the late 1990s to 2005, and the second victim was abused from 2005 to 2007, Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman Kathy Lowe said.

“Basically this relationship was an ongoing inappropriate sexual relationship over a period of many years,” she said.

McKenzie, a pool cleaner who works throughout Orange County, was a volunteer Sunday school teacher at Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa, but it is not suspected he had any victims from the congregation, police said.

After an investigation, police obtained a no-bail warrant for McKenzie, who was arrested at 11 a.m. Saturday and booked at the Newport Beach Police Department Jail and transported to Orange County Jail without incident, a news release stated.

He is scheduled for arraignment at the Harbor Justice Center early next week.

Police said the crimes took place in a residence in Newport Beach but did not elaborate on the exact nature, saying only that McKenzie is suspected of lewd and lascivious acts with a child.

Lowe said police hope releasing the information will help identify victims of any similar, unreported crimes.

However: “I don’t have any information at this time to indicate there are more victims,” Lowe said.

After Newport Beach police announced the arrest Saturday, Rock Harbor leaders released a statement saying they informed parents and invited them to a 7 p.m. Monday meeting to discuss the situation at its Costa Mesa campus, 345 Fischer Ave.

“We sent an email to our entire congregation this afternoon before the police department’s press release came out,” said Jeff Gideon, the church’s communications director.

McKenzie first applied to be a volunteer in 2007, Gideon said. The church has since barred him from the classroom when it learned about the allegations Friday.

That application process included a background check, a screening of the Megan’s Law website, references and a one-hour interview, Gideon said.

The statement also listed a dozen rules child-care volunteers must follow, including restrictions that bar them from being alone with a child.

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of inappropriate contact with McKenzie, or has any information related to the case, can contact Det. Penny Freeman at (949)-644-3776, Det. Pete Carpentieri at (949)-644-3772, or (800) 550-NBPD. Messages may be left anonymously.

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck