Moreno Valley Pastor Charged with Sexually Assaulting Girl

Connor Forbes
Connor Forbes
3 Min Read

Moreno Valley Pastor Charged with Sexually Assaulting Girl

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A 78-year-old pastor accused of sexually assaulting a young girl is slated to be arraigned next week on multiple felony charges.

David Lee Helbling of Moreno Valley was arrested last week following a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigation.

Helbling is charged with oral copulation of a child under 10 years old, abduction of a minor, forcible lewd acts on a child, perpetrating three or more sexual acts on a minor and a sentence-enhancing allegation of bodily injury during a sexual assault.

The defendant made his initial court appearance Friday before Superior Court Judge Gail O’Rane, who appointed him a public defender and scheduled his arraignment for March 1 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

Helbling is being held on $2 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Martinez, deputies were informed on Jan. 30 of an alleged attack on the victim, identified in court documents only as “E.A.,” in the 23000 block of Hemlock Avenue, near Pigeon Pass Road.

The ensuing investigation led to the identification of Helbling, a local minister, as the alleged perpetrator.

Martinez said a search warrant was obtained and served at the defendant’s residence, where “evidence related to the crime was collected, and Helbling was taken into custody without incident.”

Court papers indicated the defendant committed the alleged offenses all on the same day — Jan. 30.

“It is alleged that in connection with the commission of the offenses, Helbling … kidnapped the victim, and the movement of the victim substantially increased the risk of harm,” according to the criminal complaint. “The defendant resided in the same home, and (he) had recurring access (to her) with the intent of arousing, appealing to and gratifying (his) lust, passions and sexual desires.”

No other details were disclosed, including the house of worship where the defendant presided.

The charges carry a potential maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Helbling has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.

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