2006-10-26 / Front Page

Pastor pleads guilty to child molestation

By Nancy Needham nancy@theacorn.com

The Rev. William Alan Malgren, 52, a former Thousand Oaks pastor, has pleaded guilty to four felony counts of sexual molestation of a young girl while she was a student at the Thousand Oaks Baptist Church.

Malgren, who is in Ventura County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail, faces a maximum of 11 years and four months in prison.

He will be sentenced on Dec. 5 for two counts of committing lewd acts upon a child and two counts of oral copulation of a person under 16.

About one month ago a woman in her early 30s, who now lives out of state, accused Malgren of sexually assaulting her from the time she was 7 until she turned 14, according to Ventura County Sheriff's Department Senior Dep. Eric Buschow.

Prosecutors were not able to charge him with sexual molestation alleged to have happened before 1988 because of a California law that determines statute of limitations on such crimes, according to Senior Dep. District Attorney Maeve Fox.

Under California law, sexual molestation can be prosecuted if it occurred in 1988 or later, if it has never been reported to law enforcement and if it can be corroborated independently by clear and convincing evidence, Fox said.

The corroborating evidence in this case included Malgren admitting to the conduct and independent witnesses who said they saw Malgren intimately kissing and caressing the child, now the adult accuser, in an inappropriate way, Fox said.

According to the woman's initial report and accounts from eyewitnesses, Malgren was asked to resign as pastor in 1989 after someone from the congregation saw him involved in what was described as inappropriate but not illegal behavior with the child, the detective said.

"This behavior was not reported at the time, and it was not until later she realized she needed to tell people what really happened to her," Buschow said.

Upon investigation, deputies learned Malgren was a pastor in Moscow, Idaho, where he'd been in a position of trust for the past 10 years. He'd also lived in Iowa and Washington, Buschow saidDeputies brought him back to Ventura County on Oct. 5.

Idaho officials continue to investigate Malgren. Ventura County detectives have asked anyone with information aboupossible similar crimes committed by Malgren to contacVentura County Sheriff's Department Detective Mike Hartmann at (805) 371-8397 or Sgt. Barbara Payton at (805) 371-8392.

Return to top