Maldonado, a 32-year-old Concord resident, was found guilty of 23
counts of child sexual abuse. He fled to Mexico before he could be
taken into custody, prosecutors said.
Contra Costa County jury convicted a Martinez pastor of 23 counts of
child sexual abuse days after he failed to show up at his trial and
apparently fled to Mexico with his wife and children — jumping $1.29
million in bail secured by relatives, prosecutors said Thursday.
Maldonado, 37, faces up to 34 years in state prison for crimes ranging
from committing lewd acts upon a child to unlawful sexual intercourse
and sodomy of a person under the age of 18.
jury convicted him on all charges Wednesday after deliberating for 2½
hours. But the defendant was not present when the panel announced its
bench warrant was issued for him when he failed to show up for his trial
on Monday. Maldonado was last spotted driving south on Interstate 5 near
San Diego on Sunday, said Jordan Sanders, a Contra Costa County deputy
on this information, I am comfortable assuming he is driving to Mexico
with his wife and children,” Sanders said.
after his arrest in April 2016, Maldonado was released on $1.29 million
bail secured by six relatives who put up to their properties as
said Maldonado had a sexual relationship between 2012 and 2016 with a
young girl, beginning when she was 13 years old and while he was a
minister at Morello Baptist Church in Martinez. The victim, whose name
was not released, was a church parishioner, said Sanders.
relationship continued until the victim ended it in December 2014 when
she was about 16 years old, Sanders said.
the time, he was married and had a newborn baby,” Sanders said, adding
that Maldonado was also a minister at Grace Bible Church in Pleasant
victim testified against Maldonado on Thursday and Friday, before he
decided to flee, Sanders said.
said that during the trial he played the jury a recorded phone call, in
which the victim confronted Maldonado about the sex abuse.
a criminalist testified that Maldonado’s semen was found on a church
couch, corroborating the victim’s testimony that they had sex inside the
church, Sanders said.
Monday, the judge issued a no-bail bench warrant for Maldonado and the
trial proceeded without him in the courtroom.
the trial concluded and the jury returned a verdict, my office and the
local police departments have diligently been researching his location,”
Sanders said. “We checked on his residence multiple times Monday
afternoon and throughout the week with no results.”
said the search will continue. Maldonado is scheduled to be sentenced in
and when we locate him,” Sanders said, “justice will be served and he
will be sentenced.”