Lake Forest pastor accused of sexual assault; additional victims sought

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (KABC) -- A former Lake Forest youth pastor believed to be responsible for a series of sexual assaults was arrested on Friday, and Orange County sheriff's deputies are now looking for additional victims.

Sean Patrick Aday, 38, was arrested during a traffic stop following weeks of investigation that included interviews with several female victims.

A female victim contacted sheriff's investigators in October and reported that she had been sexually assaulted by Aday, a youth pastor at Grace Community Church.

During the investigation that followed, sheriff's deputies were able to contact several other victims who reported they had also been sexually assaulted by Aday over the course of several years.

The sexual assaults allegedly occurred inside the church, on church property, in various places in Orange County and during church-sponsored international trips to Costa Rica, Moldova and South Africa, officials said.

The victims were all Grace Community Church parishioners or volunteers ranging in age from late teens to early 20s.

The lead pastor, Michael Goacher, issued a statement:

"It is with great horror today that we have heard of the crimes that former employee Sean Aday has been charged with against those entrusted to our care at Grace Community Church. We are shocked and angered that he abused his role as a leader here to hurt those who trusted him. Our deepest sympathies and prayers go out to the victims and their families. We are praying fervently for them and will strive to provide avenues for healing and peace in their lives."

The church fired Aday in October after the allegations came to light but investigators are concerned that there may be other potential victims that have not yet come forward.

Aday was booked on suspicion of rape, sodomy, penetration with a foreign object and sexual assault at the Orange County jail. He was released Saturday morning after posting $500,000 bail.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with further information or who may have been victimized by Aday was urged to call the Orange County Sheriff's Department's Special Victim's Unit at (714) 647-7418 or (714) 647-7000.
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.