A Santa Ana pastor was behind bars Friday on suspicion of molesting three girls he met through churches in Riverside, Garden Grove and Santa Ana.

Carlos Ramirez Valdez, 57, of Riverside, was booked on Friday on suspicion of child molestation, according to Santa Ana Police Cpl. Sonia Rono. He was arrested in Los Alamitos at a construction site where he works, Rono said.

Valdez was being held on $1 million bail, according to jail records.

Valdez is pastor of International Mission Church USA at 505 S. Main St., Rono said.

Before that he was a member of Iglesia De Dios Ebenezer Church at 2020 W. Chestnut Ave. in Santa Ana from 2014 through 2017, Rono said.

At that church he allegedly lured an 8-year-old girl into a van during a service where he allegedly sexually assaulted her, Rono said.

Valdez is accused of repeatedly assaulting the girl in the van over a period of three years, Rono said.

Another victim told Riverside police in January 2020 she was molested by Valdez in 2017 when she was 8, Rono said.

Also in January 2020, another alleged victim went to Garden Grove police saying Valdez molested her in 2015, Rono said.

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