Steve James Howard, the 58-year-old pastor of the United Methodist Church in Muscoy, California, was just convicted on Friday October 27, 2017 of over 30 counts of child sexual molestation. Sentencing is set for November 29 in San Bernardino; in the meantime Pastor Howard sits at the West Valley Detention Center, in Rancho Cucamonga. As one might expect in a case like this, there has been no bail set.

Pastor Howard had been the lead pastor at Muscoy since 2001; for the twelve years prior he was the Youth Director at a United Methodist church in Ontario, California.

The arrest goes back to March of 2014, after detectives had begun investigating reports of Pastor Howard molesting young boys in San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana, among other locations.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Crimes Against Children Division was in charge of the investigation, which found two victims, a 14-year-old boy and a 23-year-old man (for whom the abuse had begun at age 9 and continued). Pastor Howard’s abuse has, thus far, been tracked over the course of many years, starting in 1990.

Bishop Carcano noted in 2014 that United Methodists stand firmly against child sexual abuse; that said, we would be stunned to find that these are the only two instances of abuse in Pastor Howard’s “career”. Considering that authority figures like Pastor Howard are never found to have molested a child “just once”, we will not be surprised if the conviction encourages other survivors to reach out to tell their story. In our experience, we expect others to come forward, and for authorities to continue to investigate.

If you were molested by Pastor Howard as a child, or you believe your child was molested, when the pastor was in Muscoy or Ontario or elsewhere, and you are concerned about harm he may have caused, please contact the police and then reach out to us. We are located at 11801 Pierce Street in Riverside, 951.543.9020, and our firm specializes in child sex abuse. Consultations with survivors and their families are free. A family pays nothing up front, not for doctors or lawyers or anything else; we only get paid if we recover money successfully.

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Child sexual abuse is a complicated area of law, and we have the experience and compassion to help your family navigate through it, including with hands-on help from our on-staff psychologist and other medical and psychological team members.