California Baptist Minister Who Jumped Bail While On Trial For 23 Counts Of Child Sex Abuse Arrested And Extradited From Mexico

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Fernando Maldonado

Mercury News

“A former Bay Area minister who jumped bail to Mexico while on trial for 23 counts of child sex abuse was arrested and extradited to the United States Wednesday, authorities said.

Fernando Maldonado, 37, is expected to be transported from Los Angeles County to Contra Costa in time for his April 13 sentencing date. He is facing a maximum of 37 years, after being convicted on all counts last year.

Maldonado, then a Concord resident, was a minister at the now-defunct Morello Avenue Baptist Church in Martinez and the victim was a parishioner there, police said.

Maldonado left that church to become a minister at Grace Bible Church in Pleasant Hill in 2014, where the victim began attending the church and the abuse continued, police said. The victim came forward in 2016, leading authorities to file 23 felony counts against Maldonado.

One month after his April 2016 arrest, Maldonado was released on bail, after someone posted a $106,000 premium for his $1.295 million bail. Prosecutors say six families from his church supplied the cash. Maldonado fled hours after his victim testified to the abuse.

“The District Attorney’s Office expresses our gratitude to the Fugitive Unit at the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and to the United States Marshals Service for their work returning Maldonado to the United States to face justice,” agency spokesman Scott Alonso said in a news release.”

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