A youth pastor for an Aliso Viejo church pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of sexually assaulting five boys at church-related events.
Brandon Ernis Lee McDade, 30, of Mission Viejo, has been charged with four counts of lewd acts on a child 14 to 15 and two counts of lewd acts on a minor, all felonies.
McDade also faces two misdemeanor counts of child annoyance and sentencing enhancement allegations for multiple victims.
The defendant could face up to 30 years to life in prison if convicted at trial.
McDade is accused of molesting the boys while serving as a youth pastor at Grace Hills Church in Aliso Viejo, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
He is accused of molesting the boys on church property, at a movie theater in the area and at a youth church camp in San Bernardino County, according to prosecutors.
McDade’s attorney, Jorge Ledezma, said his client “adamantly denies the allegations made against him today.”
“We are currently in the process of conducting our own independent investigation,” Ledezman said. “We trust that at the end of our investigation, we will be able to present evidence of Mr. McDade’s innocence.
“However, it should be noted that some of the alleged incidents of abuse took place several years ago according to the charging complaint. It is fair to say then that the memories of some of these complaining witnesses may be compromised due to lapse of time. Ledezman said.”
— City News Service