A 29-year-old man was charged Wednesday with repeatedly having sex with a girl he met through a Santa Ana church, starting when she was about 13 and continuing until she turned 18.
Martin Herrera pleaded not guilty Wednesday at his hearing in the jail courtroom in Santa Ana and was ordered to return to court for a pretrial hearing July 7 in the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.
According to the criminal complaint, Herrera was accused of driving the victim from church to a rear parking lot of a medical facility to sexually assault her.
Herrera was also accused of having sex with her at Hart Park in Orange, at a hotel, while parked on a street in a car, one time on Burdie Lane in Orange and the parking lot of a Hometown Buffet restaurant, according to the criminal complaint.
The alleged sexual assaults began in February 2013 and continued through April 2016, according to the complaint.
“They met when they were both involved in the church choir,” said Santa Ana Police Department Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. “He played guitar and she sang.”
The church, which no longer exists, was called Generations, Bertagna said.
When the alleged victim turned 18 “he stopped contacting her,” Bertagna said.
Herrera was accused of taking pictures and videos of her during sex acts, Bertagna said.
“He would pick her up from school and then would take her to where she needed to go and then would go off to a different location and have sex,” Bertagna said.
Herrera was charged with four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, two counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor younger than 14, two counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object of an underage victim, two counts of oral copulation of a victim younger than 16, one count of oral copulation of a person under 18, and single counts each of kidnapping for child molestation and possession or control of child pornography, all felonies.