Muscoy United Methodist Church pastor convicted on 32 counts of sexual child abuse
By Stephen Ramirez
Sun via Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
October 31, 2017
The pastor of the Muscoy United Methodist Church, charged with multiple counts of child molestation involving boys who attended the church, was found guilty by a San Bernardino County jury last week, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office said.
Stephen James Howard, 58, was convicted Friday, Oct. 27, of 32 counts of sexual abuse, including lewd acts upon a child, oral copulation of a person under 16 years old and sodomy of a person under 18, court records showed. He is being housed at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga with no bail, according to jail records.
Howard is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 29 in San Bernardino.
Howard was arrested and charged in March 2014, according to court records. Detectives had investigated reports that month that Howard had molested boys at several locations, including San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana, San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials have said.
The department’s Crimes Against Children took over the case and found two victims, a 14-year-old boy and a 23-year-old man from Rancho Cucamonga, sheriff’s officials said. The older victim said the abuse began when he was 9, and continued into adulthood, authorities noted.
Twelve of the counts involve acts committed between 1990 and 2000, according to court records. The most recent charges involve acts committed between 2011 and 14.
“I am deeply grieved by this sad situation and earnestly ask for your prayers for all who are affected,” United Methodist Bishop Minerva G. Carcano said in a 2014 interview. “As United Methodists we stand firmly against child abuse, sexual abuse and sexual misconduct.”
Howard had been lead pastor at the Muscoy United Methodist Church since 2001. He was also youth director at a United Methodist Church in Ontario from 1989 to 2001.