San Bernardino pastor accused of paying boys for sex acts

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.

Stephen Howard, 54, was taken into custody Thursday and booked at the Central Detention Center for lewd acts with a child under 14, oral copulation with a person under 18, and sodomy with a person under 18. He was being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Investigators say at least two victims, one 14 years old and the other 23 years old, claimed Howard paid them for sex acts.

The 23-year-old says Howard has been abusing him since he was 9 years old. The alleged abuse occurred in the cities of San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana.

Howard has been the lead pastor at Muscoy United Methodist Church since 2001. He was the youth director at a United Methodist Church in Ontario from 1989 to 2001.

Detectives believe there may be more victims. Anyone with information regarding the crime was urged to contact Detective Jennifer Wood from the Crimes Against Children Detail at (800) 78-CRIME.

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