Gordon Solomon, pastor of Christ's Community Church in Inglewood, Calif., has been arrested by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and charged with seven felony counts of committing lewd acts upon a Child for allegedly carrying on a two-year sexual relationship with a teen congregant.
Solomon, the senior pastor of Christ's Community Church of Los Angeles, was arrested July 4 and charged last Friday. The minister, who is married, was being held on $3,000,000 bail. In addition to the felony lewd acts, Solomon was charged with one felony count of oral copulation of a person under the age of 14 and one felony count of continuous sexual abuse, according to the District Attorney's office. If convicted, the pastor could be sentenced to 26 years in prison.
The authorities became aware of the accusations against the Solomon, 50, when the young girl's mother discovered an explicit text messages allegedly from the minister on the teen's cell phone. The mother immediately contacted the police, who later discovered a trail of emails and text messages allegedly between the 14-year-old and Solomon going back about two years.
Officials suspect that other alleged victims may exist and have called on members of the public to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Special Victims Bureau with any information by calling 1-877-710-LASD (5273) or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of Christ Community Church have expressed disappointment and shock at the news that their pastor, who reportedly asked for their prayers before the arrest, had been accused of such a crime.
Church musician Walter Woodard, talking to the Los Angeles Times, said in reference to the prayer request, "I didn't think it was something like this. But I know I cannot put my faith in the man."
Woodard, 57, told the publication that Solomon worked with children during Bible classes, computer lessons and choir rehearsals but that he never witnessed any inappropriate behavior.
Christ Community Church of Los Angeles was organized in 1994, is home to about 200 members and is described on its website as "a vibrant non-denominational congregation." The church is reportedly well-known locally for its food pantry, which provides free food to the community twice a week, and its clothing drive. According to its website, Christ Community Church distributed more than $1,000,000 worth of food and non-food items to the community last year."
Calls made to CCCLA by The Christian Post Monday went unanswered.