SANTA ANA (CNS) — An Orange County pastor pleaded not guilty Monday to felony charges of molesting seven children ages five to 15.
John Rodgers McFarland, who has been the head pastor at Orangethorpe United Methodist Church in Fullerton since 2014, was arrested on a warrant Thursday charging him with seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor younger than 14 and four counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor 14 to 15 years old.
Bail was set at $2 million for McFarland, 56, who faces up to 179 years to life in prison if convicted, prosecutors said. His next scheduled court date is a June 20 pretrial hearing at the West Justice Center in Westminster.
McFarland’s attorney, Michael J. Holmes, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The pastor is accused of molesting the children between 2003 and 2017, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, which did not release the genders of the alleged victims.