Trial for Former Arcata Pastor Set; Cardelli's Bail Reduced by Court

By Matt Drange
The Times-Standard
September 22, 2010

A former Arcata pastor facing felony child molestation charges appeared in Humboldt County Superior Court on Tuesday, where a judge ruled to reduce the amount of his bail.

Dino Cardelli, 49, pleaded not guilty to four felony counts of child molestation last week. On Tuesday his bail was reduced from $750,000 to $250,000, a decision that both prosecutors and defense attorneys in the case agreed upon.

Judge Dale Reinholtsen reduced the bail after Mark Bruce, Cardelli's attorney, asked the court to consider the decision, saying it was more appropriate considering the charges against Cardelli.

Deputy District Attorney Kelly Neel agreed with the decision, on the condition that if Cardelli does post bail, he is to surrender any and all passports to the court. Neel requested the court consider the stipulation to ensure that Cardelli does not flee the country if he were to post bail. Reinholtsen agreed with the stipulation.

Cardelli is accused of the recurring sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14 who lived with him, including one count of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and two counts of oral copulation with a minor. Another condition of Cardelli's bail is that he refrain from contacting the victim in the case or any of the other children he lived with at his home in McKinleyville.

The case began when officials at the school of the alleged victim submitted a report to the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office with details of the charges.

Cardelli, along with his wife, founded Calvary Chapel of Arcata 15 years ago, and last week resigned his position of pastor at the church.

Cardelli is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing on Oct. 13.

Matt Drange can be reached at 441-0514 or

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