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Pastor faces molestation charges

An Arcata pastor is expected to be arraigned today on molestation charges and remains held in the Humboldt County jail on $750,000 bail, according to the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office.

Dino Cardelli, 49, of McKinleyville, who has served as the pastor at Calvary Chapel of Arcata for 15 years, was arrested last Thursday by Humboldt County Sheriff's deputies after the agency received a report from an official at the school of the alleged victim in the case, according to Humboldt County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Brenda Godsey.

Prosecutors charged Cardelli Monday with a single count of committing the recurring sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14, one count of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and two counts of oral copulation with a minor, according to Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Kelly Neel.

Godsey said detectives believe there to be only one victim in the case.

According to the Calvary Chapel website, Cardelli graduated from the Calvary Chapel Bible College and finished his ministry responsibilities in Southern California's Lake Arrowhead before moving to Humboldt County to open a chapel in Arcata. Calvary Chapel of Arcata's first Sunday service was given in January 1995, according to the website.

Cardelli updated his Facebook page Thursday morning -- about 12 hours before his arrest -- quoting a Bible verse.

”Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children,” Cardelli wrote in the
post. “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

A message left for the chapel was not returned by the Times-Standard's deadline Monday.

Neel said she expects Cardelli to be arraigned in the case this afternoon.

The prosecutor said Cardelli has been charged one count of Penal Code 288.5 (a), which states that “any person who either resides in the same home with the minor child or has recurring access to the child” and over a period of at least three months engages in three or more acts of “substantial sexual conduct with a child under the age of 14” can be punished by a maximum of 16 years in prison.

Godsey said “appropriate steps were taken to ensure the safety of the other children in the home,” but declined to provide any details about how many children Cardelli has or what specific steps were taken, citing privacy concerns.