Child misconduct investigation widens for former Catholic priest arrested for trying to lure teen in Banning

BANNING, Calif. (KABC) -- An arrest for suspected illicit communication with a child has detectives looking for potential victims in three Southern California counties.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles issued a bulletin to Our Lady of Lourdes in Northridge that a former priest is under investigation.

"You have to watch your kids. The world is not that safe anymore," said Gary Osmanian, who came to the school to pick up his grandchild.

Charles Mayer, 55, had been a newly ordained priest when he worked at Lourdes' Catholic school from 1996 to 2000. The Archdiocese said he was dismissed for violating rules about interacting with youth and that there had been no reports of criminal misconduct.

Mayer was recently promoted to dean at Nicolet Middle School in Banning. Then came evidence through social media that he sent nude pictures of himself and allegedly tried to meet up with a 14-year-old boy for sex.

Mayer soon learned he was actually chatting with was a San Bernardino County sheriff's detective.

Previous employers include two Lutheran churches in Vista and Menifee, which have since disbanded.

The inquiry follows an aggressive safety campaign at all Catholic schools in the wake of the clergy misconduct scandal.

Parents describe multiple layers of security. Bathrooms are supervised and older children are separated from playing with young children.

Mayer remains in custody facing three felony charges with no bail set. Arraignment is set for Monday in Rancho Cucamonga.

Detectives confirm that the Banning School District had conducted a background check on Mayer. However, his record was clean because he had never been arrested.
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