A Banning school administrator who pleaded not guilty to charges that he tried to lure a minor to have sex was on “inactive leave” as a Roman Catholic priest, according to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Charles Patrick Mayer, 55, of Menifee is “not in ministry and living privately, since September of 2000 due to a failure to adhere to Archdiocesan policies concerning interaction with youth and young adults. The Archdiocese has no record of allegations of sexual misconduct by Charles Mayer,” the archdiocese said in a statement released Thursday.
The statement was part of a bulletin to parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Northridge in the San Fernando Valley, which was Mayer’s first assignment as a priest after his 1996 ordination until 2000, when his inactive leave began.
The bulletin asked anyone who may have information concerning misconduct by Mayer to contact Detective Donald Patton of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department at (909) 774-2852.
The Banning School District says Mayer was immediately placed on unpaid administrative leave from his job as dean of students at Nicolet Middle School when it received word of his arrest.
The district also said he was barred from any district facility or school site, although Mayer remained in custody at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on a no-bail hold.
Mayer was arrested last weekend after San Bernardino County Sheriff’s investigators said he sent nude photos of himself to someone he thought was a 14-year-old boy he had met online. It was, in fact, an account run by undercover police.
In Mayer’s application to Banning Unified before he was hired four years ago, he listed his employment as an associate pastor at Lourdes, but did not mention his suspension, according to Banning School District Superintendent Robert Guillen.
Mayer’s past employers included Lutheran schools, Guillen said.
San Bernardino sheriff’s officials said that Mayer also previously taught and was the vice principal at “various religious-based schools in the cities of Menifee and Vista since 2000.”
Investigators said they’d been “made aware of possible inappropriate behavior involving students at those, and possible students within the Banning School District,” but were still investigating whether any criminal conduct occurred at those campuses.
The background check on Mayer that included running his fingerprints through a national database did not show any criminal record, Guillen said, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Mayer is due back in a Rancho Cucamonga courtroom Monday after pleading not guilty Wednesday to charges of distributing pornography to a minor and arranging to meet with a minor.
He was being held without bail.
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