Sexual Abuse Scandal Hits California Church
A Sunday school volunteer at Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa, Calif., allegedly used his role to form relationships with children in the church – and then sexually abuse them. Christopher Bryan McKenzie, 48, became a child care volunteer at the 3,000-member church toward the end of 2007 and, according to court documents, he sexually abused at least one child multiple times from 2009 to 2011, and used another child to distribute obscene material.
While the church did not allow children to be left alone with an adult, it appears McKenzie used his position to form relationships with the parents outside the church – which then gave him access to the children.
The allegations surfaced after McKenzie was arrested Saturday on charges of sexually abusing two boys unrelated to the church. Those incidents occurred from the 1990s until 2007, and after pastors announced McKenzie's arrest, two families from the church came forward with the additional allegations.
As yet another scandal unfolds, it is a stern reminder of the need for parents to be on high alert about who is allowed to have access to their children. Because McKenzie had never been arrested for his previous abuses, he passed the church's background check and screening. Remember that 90 percent of all children are sexually abused by someone they know, love or trust – and be aware of who your children are spending time with. Educate your children about how to protect themselves from predators, because innocence is too valuable to be lost so young.