Jerome Anthony Clay Sr., a pastor at Compassion Church in Perris, is charged with raping a person under the age of 16. Authorities did not say whether the victim was a church member.
Clay, 41, was taken into custody Thursday after search warrants were served at his church and his home in the 400 block of Perris Boulevard. He is being held on $110,000 bail and is expected in court on March 17.
Perris residents had mixed reactions to the news.
"There was a lot of bad stuff that goes on at this church, they say it doesn't, but it does," Jordan Egbert said.
Robert Arnold, who used to attend Compassion Church, said Clay was a popular figure.
"He was involved with the community, the people, but what happened, I don't know," Arnold said.
Authorities believe there may be other victims. Anyone with information is urged to call the Perris Police Department at (951) 210-1044.