Ex-youth pastor nabbed on child molestation charges

After a two-month investigation, sheriff’s officials have arrested a Pinole resident on suspicion of child molestation, sheriff’s officials announced Friday.

On Dec. 10 Gabriel Lopez, 34, was arrested and the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office has filed six felony counts of child molestation against him, according to sheriff’s officials.

The investigation began in September when two juvenile females reported that Lopez has molested them. Both girls participated in the Student Ministry at Valley Bible Church, located at 1477 Willow Ave. in Hercules, and were also students at a John Swett Unified School District school, according to sheriff’s officials.

Lopez had worked as an “at will” employee at the Valley Bible Church as a youth pastor from July 2011 to March 2015. Lopez also worked as a “walk on” volunteer football coach at John Swett High School, located at 1098 Pomona Street in Crockett, sheriff’s officials said.

Lopez has been booked into the Martinez Detention Facility. His bail is set at $520,000, according to sheriff’s officials.

Detectives believe there may be additional victims. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the sheriff’s office’s investigation division at (925) 313-2654. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can leave a voicemail at (866) 846-3592.