BENICIA - A 38-year-old youth pastor has been arrested for sexually preying on a Benicia girl who was one of his Bible study students, police said Wednesday.
John Edward Gamboa, of American Canyon, allegedly began talking to and texting the girl in February or March, police said. The communications stopped for a while after the girl's parents became suspicious and complained to the church, police said. Police would say only that the girl is under 14.
However, in July, the two began texting again, arranging for Gamboa to sneak into the victim's home in August where the two "engaged in kissing and inappropriate touching," police said.
Five days later, Gamboa met the girl at an event at a Fairfield business, arranging via text messages to meet in a secluded area where he allegedly committed more lewd acts, police said.
The victim's mother discovered what appeared to be an inappropriate relationship when she checked her daughter's phone, police said. The parents reported the allegations to police after their daughter confided in them about the meetings.
Gamboa was contacted by police, provided a statement "admitting the allegations" and was booked into Solano County jail on $65,000 bail Tuesday night, police said. He is set to be arraigned Thursday afternoon in Fairfield.
Police did not release the name of the Solano County church the girl attended to protect her privacy. However, police said the church is not in Benicia.
Gamboa faces charges of lewd act with a
minor, contacting a minor for the purpose of engaging in lewd behavior and entering a dwelling with the intent to commit a felony.
"This illustrates the importance of parents monitoring the behavior of their children and, when necessary, the information on their children's cell phones," police Lt. Mike Daley said. "Sexual predators who have gained the trust of a child or minor have found texting an easy way to engage young children in conversations at any time of the day or night."