Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The former pastor of a non-denominational Christian church in Buena Park was convicted Tuesdays of molesting an 8-year-old female friend of his daughter’s and possessing videos and images of child pornography on his computers.

Christopher Raymond Olague, who was also convicted of kidnapping the victim to commit a child molestation and attempting to dissuade a witness from cooperating with authorities, faces up to 18 years and three months to life in prison.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 22.

Olague, 43, was acquitted of lewd acts on another victim, who is a relative, and using a minor for sex acts. Jurors, who began deliberating Monday afternoon and reached verdicts late this morning, found true a sentencing enhancement for kidnapping a victim during a molestation, but denied a sentencing-enhancing allegation of multiple victims.

Just before the trial began, charges related to a third alleged victim were dropped because she did not want to testify, Deputy District Attorney Lexie Elliott said.

Olague’s attorney, Mark Fredrick, declined comment on the verdicts.

When he was arrested in October 2011, Olague was the pastor of Refuge Southland Church at 6711 Beach Blvd. in Buena Park. The church’s website at the time featured a photo of the defendant and his wife of 14 years, along with their five daughters who ranged in age from 25 to 6.

The victim, who is now 12, testified that she met one of the defendant’s daughters through a sister, who was a friend of another of Olague’s daughters.

Olague called the girl on Oct. 5, 2011, and asked her if she wanted to go to Toys R Us with him and his daughter, Elliott said.

“Instead of a play date, he abducted and molested her,” the prosecutor said.

The defendant drove by the Toys R Us store, which was closed, so he moved on to a park, Elliott said. The girl was nervous because her friend wasn’t in the car when the defendant picked her up, as she had expected, and he made her sit in the front seat with him, the prosecutor said.

When they arrived at the Huntington Beach park, “she’s crying, she’s scared at this point,” Elliott said.

Olague asked her if he could kiss her cheek and she refused, Elliott said. He also said he wanted to hold her hand, but the girl said she didn’t like to be touched, according to the prosecutor.

Olague then moved to unzip his pants, Elliott said.

“She sees the top of his underwear now and she’s terrified,” Elliott said.

Olague rubbed her legs, but backed off because she was “hysterical,” the prosecutor said.

The defendant gave the girl two $20 bills, which she refused, but he insisted she take the money and then drove her home, warning her not to tell anyone, Elliott said.

The girl did not immediately tell her parents. But when the defendant called her on the phone and she was crying, her mother asked what was wrong, Elliott said.

When the girl relayed what happened, her parents called police, who directed the girl to make three “covert calls” to the defendant with investigators listening in, Elliott said.

Jurors heard a portion of a call in which Olague apologized for touching the girl’s leg and promised, “I won’t do that ever again.”

The defendant offered to pay her more money and advised her not to tell anyone or he would be in “really big trouble” and it would hurt his daughter, Elliott said.

Police arrested Olague during a traffic stop and seized his laptop computer. Investigators also searched another computer in his Westminster home and a USB device.

Investigators found images of “child erotica” with “scantily clad” girls 8 to 10 years old, as well as “very explicit photographs” and multiple videos of child pornography on the devices, Elliott said.

Defense attorney Mark Fredrick said his client’s daughter was not allowed to play with the victim for a few weeks before the allegations because the girl had stolen money from one of Olague’s daughters. But on the day of the molestation, it was decided to reunite the two friends, Fredrick said.

The two girls were supposed to play in the park that day, but it was raining heavily and the other girl and her grandparents went home before Olague and his daughter’s friend arrived, Fredrick said.

Olague did not molest the girl and he “never exposed himself to her,” Fredrick told jurors.

The laptop belonged to Olague, but the computer in his home was used by his wife, Fredrick said. Some explicit images that the prosecutor alleged were of a relative of the defendant were actually taken by a child, according to the defense attorney, who maintained that his client was “terribly over-charged.”

Wire reports 

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