A youth pastor at a Solano County church has been arrested on suspicion of committing lewd acts with one of his underage female Bible study students, a Benicia police lieutenant said. The Benicia girl is under 14 years old and, to protect her identity, police are not identifying the church, which is not located in Benicia, Lt. Mike Daley said. John Edward Gamboa, 38, of American Canyon, was booked into Solano County Jail Tuesday for committing lewd acts with a child under age 14, contacting a minor to engage in lewd behavior, and burglary.
Gamboa and the girl knew each other before they allegedly began talking and texting each other in February and March, Daley said. The girl’s parents learned about the communication, mediated the issue through the church, and warned Gamboa to stop the inappropriate behavior, Daley said. The two resumed texting in July, and in August Gamboa allegedly snuck into the girl’s home where he and the girl allegedly engaged in kissing and inappropriate touching, Daley said. The two met again five days later at an event at a Fairfield business where they allegedly engaged in kissing and inappropriate touching in a secluded area, Daley said.
The girl’s mother found inappropriate text messages when she checked her daughter’s phone, Daley said. When the girl admitted the behavior, the parents called police, Daley said. Police contacted Gamboa, who Daley said admitted the allegations during a statement at police headquarters Tuesday evening. He was arrested without incident. “This illustrates the importance of parents monitoring the behavior of their children and, when necessary, the information on their children’s cell phones,” Daley said. “Sexual predators who have gained the trust of a child or minor have found texting an easy way to engage young children in conversations at any time of the day or night,” Daley said.
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