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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Stephen Mendoza Arellano Stands Accused of Sex Crimes

stephen mendoza arellano

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Stephen Mendoza Arellano, youth pastor at Apostolic Assembly Church in Las Cruces, New Mexico was charged yesterday with ” attempted production of child pornography, enticement of a child to engage in sexual activity, and travel to meet a minor to engage in sexual conduct.”

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports:

An ordained minister from Las Cruces is facing federal child exploitation and pornography charges, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Stephen Mendoza Arellano, 30, an ordained minister for the Apostolic Assembly Church who serves as the youth president for the church’s New Mexico division, has been charged with attempted production of child pornography, enticement of a child to engage in sexual activity and travel to meet a minor to engage in sexual conduct, according to federal prosecutors.


According to a criminal complaint filed Oct. 5, Arellano began communicating with a 15-year-old girl in a sexually explicit manner beginning in May. It also alleges that he traveled from Las Cruces to El Paso for the purpose of engaging in sexual intercourse with the girl, who was a member of the Apostolic Assembly Church.


The complaint alleges that Arellano and the girl used Snapchat to communicate on a daily basis, and that at some point, their communications became sexually explicit. Arellano also allegedly sent nude photos of himself to the girl via cellphone message and requested nude photos of her between May and August.

The complaint also alleges that Arellano engaged in sexual activity with the girl in July and August, including at a youth convention in Las Cruces that was held at Hotel Encanto, where he allegedly took a nude photo of the girl.

The investigation allegedly revealed that Arellano was aware of the girl’s age because he assisted in making a video for her Sweet 16 birthday party.

If convicted on the attempted production of child pornography charge, Arellano faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison.

If convicted on the enticement charge, he faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison. If convicted on the traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct charge, Arellano faces a maximum of 30 years in federal prison.


An April 10, 2018 story by KRWG reports that Arellano has pleaded guilty to “traveling in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in sexual contact with a minor.”

1 Comment

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    Stephen Mendoza Arellano “was aware of the girl’s age because he assisted in making a video for her Sweet 16 birthday party.”
    What does this imply, that a man might carry-on with a young teen if he is blissfully unaware of the kid’s age? That the kid perhaps dressed-up to look older and therefore somehow caused the Reverend to forget she was a youngster? That we as responsible, fair adults should give the guy a break because somebody 15 can appear older?
    This is not even close to being the point here. Ordained pastors assume a position of responsibility by becoming preachers, or at least that is the poppycock I hear all the time. Perhaps it is a fantasy based on a grand delusion? Perhaps some men become pastors and boy scout leaders to have better access to their prey. This blog seems to publish stories of harm being done by God-hawkers at such a rate that one must ask oneself if there is any statistical difference at all between the secular population and those rolling in holy belief… Perhaps the believers are more apt to abuse others… I see evangelical Christianity as a kind of virus infecting humanity. It suggests you are sick and then poisons you so that you know for sure you need redemption. It says you must harm others in a like fashion to make the grade. Even old Bob Dylan took a whirl with it, singing “When you gonna wake up?” Evangelical believers fall under a spell and actively give up their lives to serve the master. Bruce laments the lifetime of years lost this way. I share that lament and rejoice in every free day since I broke out of Jesus’ prison. Follow me, he said. My daddy murdered me for fun. I’ll teach you.

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Bruce Gerencser