Demetrius Darnell Allen, 28, was arrested last week for crimes against young girls in his congregation at First Baptist Church of Venice. He faces 10 counts of lewd acts on a child, possession of child pornography and more
Police say the victim was part of the suspect's youth ministry at the church. Authorities were alerted to the crime because kids were talking about it through social media. They would not elaborate.
"It was the type of relationship that is inappropriate, which is illegal, and which is criminal," said LAPD Det. Michael Brox during a news conference.
Reaction from church members ranged from shock and disappointment to utter disbelief.
"The ministry of our church is restoration, reconciliation, forgiveness and love, and that's what the Bible says, that's what we practice," said Nancy Crutchfield, acting associate pastor of the church.
Crutchfield said she had no other comment other than this: "We are not judge, you are not judge, the media is not judge, God is judge."
Allen allegedly would meet the victim at his home in Granada Hills to have sex for more than a year.
"Any time that a person actually targets a youth, and you're an adult, I consider that a predator," Brox said.
Allen is married with children. Police say he was a youth pastor for at least a year, which put him in contact with a lot of children. He is being held on $1 million bail.
Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD Devonshire Station at (818) 832-0609.