Second Arrest Made in Wildomar’s Faith Baptist Church Sex Abuse Scandal

By Joe Nelson
San Bernardino Sun
August 1, 2019

Less than a year after a former youth pastor at Wildomar’s Faith Baptist Church was accused of molesting three teenage girls, another former staff member has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a student at the church’s school nearly 30 years ago.

Laverne Paul Fox, the former principal at Faith Baptist Academy and former bus director for the church, was arrested Monday in Erie, Pennsylvania, and extradited to California, where he was held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on $120,000 bail.

Laverne Paul Fox, a former principal at Faith Baptist Academy in Wildomar and former bus director at the affiliated Faith Baptist Church, was arrested Monday in Erie, PA. after begin charged with three felony counts of child molestation involving a student at the school in 1990.

Fox, 60, posted bail Tuesday and is scheduled for arraignment Oct. 2 at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, according to online booking records.

Riverside County prosecutors charged Fox on June 21 with three felony counts of child molestation involving a girl under the age of 18. The alleged sexual abuse occurred about July 1990, according to the criminal complaint.

‘Justice 27 years late’

“I feel like I’m finally getting justice 27 years late,” said Fox’s alleged victim, Kathy Durbin, on Wednesday. She said she reported the alleged abuse to church pastor Bruce Goddard in 1992, but he never reported it to police.

While the Southern California News Group does not typically disclose the names of victims of sexual abuse, Durbin has allowed her name to be published.

Fox’s arrest is the latest in a sex abuse scandal that rocked the church last August, when former youth pastor Malo Victor Monteiro of Colton was charged with seven felony counts of sexual abuse involving three teenage girls, all former members of his church youth group. The abuse occurred over an 18-year period, from 1999 to 2017.

Malo Victor Monteiro, of Colton, pictured here during a court hearing in Riverside County in August 2018. He pleaded guilty in November 2018 to seven felonies for molesting three teen-age girls, former members of his youth group at Faith Baptist Church in Wildomar. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

Monteiro pleaded guilty on Nov. 13, 2018, to all seven felonies and was sentenced to five years in prison, court records show.

Durbin, who is Monteiro’s sister-in-law, assisted detectives in that investigation and informed them of her own alleged sexual abuse involving Fox, prompting a separate criminal investigation launched in August 2018, according to Durbin and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Pastor accused of covering up

Durbin and Monteiro’s victims accused longtime church pastor Bruce Goddard and his wife of covering up the sexual abuse, never contacting police, blaming the victims and transferring the accused staffers to other churches, both locally and out of state.

When Goddard learned of Durbin’s alleged molestation by Fox, he transferred Fox to another church, out of state. His wife, Tammy Goddard, blamed Durbin for what happened and called her a “homewrecker,” Durbin said.

And when Goddard learned of Monteiro’s transgressions, he sent him to Menifee to help start a new church there with another pastor, again never reporting the allegations to police, according to Monteiro’s victims.

Goddard did not respond to telephone calls Wednesday seeking comment. He also was silent on the issue last year following Monteiro’s arrest.

Goddard will not face criminal charges under California’s mandated reporter law, which requires clergy members to report suspected child abuse or neglect, because the statute of limitations is expired for the misdemeanor offense. Additionally, it’s not clear whether clergy members were required reporters under the law in 1990.

During the Monteiro criminal investigation, Durbin said she told detectives Monteiro was aware of her relationship with Fox, that she told Goddard about it, and that police were never contacted. Monteiro then used that information to try to keep his own victims quiet, telling them nothing would happen and that they would likely be the ones paying the price, not him.

Several former members of the church describe a culture where women are marginalized and members are strongly encouraged not to question church leaders, who are referred to as “men of God.”

Went public on Facebook

In an open letter posted on her Facebook account last year, Durbin went public with her story about Fox. She said she considered Fox a father figure and was deeply shamed by what occurred. What started out as a father-daughter relationship evolved into a sexual one.

“Telling my story last year started the healing process for me. This was something I thought I would just have to live with with no closure,” Durbin said Wednesday.

Durbin said Fox often complimented her on her looks, bought her gifts and peppered her with kisses on the cheek, which eventually became sensuous kisses on the lips, and then led to sexual activity.

“I was emotionally his little girl, and so I let him have what he wanted to keep this father-daughter relationship going. I didn’t realize it at the time, but, looking back, it’s very clear that he had groomed me,” Durbin said last year.

Fox could not be reached for comment.

This criminal investigation is ongoing, and anyone who may have further information is encouraged to contact the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department at 951-245-3300.

Note: This article has been updated to reflect whether prosecution would be possible under California’s mandated reporter law.








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