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Tag: The River Community Church Ventura

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Leader James Dunn II Accused of Sexually Abusing Church Girl

james duran II

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.

James Dunn II, a youth leader at The River Community Church in Ventura, California, stands accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old church girl. Dunn’s father is the pastor of the church.

VC Star reports:

Ventura police arrested a local youth pastor Tuesday after investigating claims of sexual abuse involving a girl who was then 14 and attended the same church.

The accusations date back about eight years, although police said they were only recently made aware of the allegations. Prosecutors have since filed felony charges.

Authorities said they believe there may be more victims.

The Ventura Police Department launched its investigation on Nov. 11 when its special victim’s unit learned of a woman, now 21, who described sexual encounters with the suspect starting in 2013, when she was 14. The case had been referred to police by Ventura County’s Children & Family Services unit.

The case involves The River Community Church, 889 E. Santa Clara St., where the head pastor’s son, Ventura resident James Duran II, now 30, worked as a youth pastor, authorities said. The victim was a member of the church, according to police.

Duran allegedly took the teen girl to “various locations to engage in various sexual activities,” according to the department’s account. The two had a sexual relationship over a two-year period, with some of the sexual encounters taking place during River Community Church activities, authorities allege.

Police officials say the victim developed feelings for Duran and “never reported the events until recently.” Despite the delay, detectives were able to corroborate the victim’s account of her interactions, authorities said.

KTLA-5 adds:

James Edward Duran II, of Ventura, faces a count of oral copulation of a minor under the age of 16 by a person over the age of 21, and one count of oral copulation of a minor under the age of 18, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.

Duran was allegedly involved in ongoing sexual activity with a minor from 2013 to 2015, when the victim was was 14 to 16 years old. He had access to the minor while working at the River Community Church, where he was involved with the youth ministry, officials said. The Ventura County Star reported Duran worked as a youth pastor at the church.

Duran was arrested by detectives with the Ventura Police Department on Dec. 8. He was released after posting a $50,000 bail bond, authorities said.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges Wednesday and is scheduled to appear in court for an early disposition conference on Jan. 20.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser