Molestation Linked to Church Lock-In

A 25-year-old North Cobb High grad faces charges involving at least one youth attending NorthStar Church.

A 25-year-old youth volunteer has been arrested and charged with molesting at least one juvenile during a church lock-in.

The and departments are investigating multiple charges of child molestation against Cesar Pastrana of Spangle Circle in Kennesaw.

Cobb police spokesman Sgt. Dana Pierce said that on Friday, Feb. 3, and Saturday, Feb. 4, the Kennesaw church held a youth lock-in called "Thrive," and Pastrana allegedly molested one of the attendees at a private Cobb County residence.

Acworth police said Pastrana confessed Friday to molesting two teenage boys, reported WSB-TV.

"It became clear in the interview he had engaged in some child molestation involving some people who had been in his home for a church function," Acworth Police Chief Mike Wilkie told WSB-TV.

Pierce said two juveniles were victimized by Pastrana from late December 2010 to early January 2011 in a private residence in unincorporated Cobb County.

NorthStar Church said it asked Pastrana to leave the ministry after a student accused him of inappropriate conduct during the retreat, WSB said.

The church said it conducted a background check on Pastrana and that his record was clean.

According to his Facebook page, Pastrana is a 2007 graduate of .

Jail records show Pastrana was arrested Friday afternoon and is being held without bond at the on charges of child molestation, aggravated child molestation and sexual battery.

Anyone with information about this or any other case involving Pastrana should contact the Cobb County Police Department's Crimes Against Children Unit at 770-801-3470.

Concerned February 15, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I know for a fact Northstar was contacted 2 years ago with concerns about this deviant. He has had numerous unsupervised outings with minor children to include sleep overs, beach outings, going to the movies, all outside the church. i know he regularly contacts minors via facebook.
Very Concerned February 15, 2012 at 07:54 PM
"It's Just Sad" is right. Unfortunately, the church was fully aware that Cesar was a concern, and instead of addressing one persons sin out of fear of offending him, they chose to overlook it. Because of their GROSS negligence, children were hurt and now, forever effected. Not only did Barber Middle School ban Cesar AND let the church know face-to-face and via a letter 2 YEARS AGO, but parents had ALSO voiced concerns about Cesar to the youth leadership in the past. At this point, the church has a lot of explaining to do. And my facts are EXTREMELY reliable.
Cathy February 15, 2012 at 08:34 PM
It's just sad: I am not a member of Northstar but I have attened several events there. This is not a religious issue. This is an issue of a very sick individual who has forever destroyed the lives of these children. My heart breaks for the family(s) involved. The part that makes me even madder is how cruel other children and adults are being to the victims. Remember that they did nothing wrong, and to be honest, it took a lot of guts for those children to speak up. I applaud these children for doing the right thing.
warren simmons February 15, 2012 at 09:51 PM
I know Cesar personally and honestly can not believe the story presented. He is a great guy and there has to be something missing form this story. As a student who has spent plenty of time around him, there were no "signs" or any thing like that and he is not a creep a monster or a psychopathic person.
warren simmons February 15, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I remember him texting me advice and bible verses and nothing whatsoever inappropriate when I was going through hard times. Again, very hard to believe this story.
Angela Chao (Editor) February 15, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Latest update here - http://patch.com/A-qSB7. Police confirmed that Cesar Pastrana was banned from Barber Middle School property.
Very Concerned February 15, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Well, he turned himself in, believe it. He was banned from a school because of inappropriate interactions. Praise the Lord nothing happened to you, but it did happen to someone else, and the implication that that the victims are lying is absurd. NO FAMILY would wish to bring about this turmoil, heartache, and embarrassment onto themselves. The victim should be honored for having courage instead of questions from skeptics.
sad and brokenhearted February 16, 2012 at 05:02 AM
this is just so sad... so many lives effected by something that from what I have learned could have been prevented if actions had been taken when they were first made aware of issues with this volunteer. my question is when is the church leadership going to respond to this new information... Sunday they assured their congregation they knew nothing until brought to their attention on Tuesday last week... but we have learned this week of the school ban two years ago - and that on several occasions complaints from parents were made to the leaders of this particular volunteer - we know the kids thought he was so cool - the kids loved him - he was fun - he related to them... he was one of my best friends I had know idea... again open your eyes ... it was his game and he played it well... and now we learn of 2-3-4-5-6 and who knows how many more young boys that will be victims because the church leaders took the complaints and the banning of the middle school lightly and gave him a slap on the hand... answer why Northstar leaders why? exactly what would you have to have learned about him to call it a sexual complaint to take it serious enough to not want him around your church youth. my heart is broke for the victims, the community, Cesar's family too -- but my question remains to church leaders why did it come to this courageous kid to get you to finally take some action.
Cathy February 16, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Well said sad and broken hearted.
It's Just Sad February 16, 2012 at 01:36 PM
You've stated it perfectly!
I follow Christ, not the church February 16, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Everything about this case is sad. My question is to the leadership of the church.. The head pastor was counceling this man, yes he is a man not a kid, during the time he was banned from the middle school. He knew good and well the reasons why he banned. If you are banned from a school then why should he be able to work with students, let alone students of the same age? Kudos to the principal of the school for banning him, the church leadership should of done a better job, stuff like this is what makes Christianity look so bad. When does it become making the church look good and to not be concerned for the individuals that attend, especially CHILDREN!!
sad and brokenhearted February 16, 2012 at 03:09 PM
J.Smith... I agree with you.... How can the school be wise enough to know this individual should not be with young boys and the church still find it o.k.... the church leaders were well aware of the letter and the meetings with the school, etc... they sent copies of the letter to all involved including the lead pastor.... when is he going to admit his mistake that he failed his congregation and these young boys and families involved.... I don't want to hear no more statements of following all the steps - of bacground checks.... this was not happening before they started allowing him to work with their youth.... it happened under the leadership and BIG RED FLAGS were put in their faces time and time again.... and now look at the picture - the sad sad picture.... This man needed their help.... he didn't need a slap on the hand... he needed professional help and they turned their back on him back when they learned he could have a problem.... and NOT to MENTION turning their back on protecting their youth.... I have been reading all this for days... trying to make sense and not place fault just a sad situation... but more that unfolds.... you cannot help but see where the leaders are to blame for not stopping this several years ago.... for him to move forward with his congregation in my opinion he has alot of apologizing and publically accepting blame before he or his church can move on and begin to heal over this
Elizabeth Graham February 16, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Warren- You should believe this story because Cesar himself has confessed to it. He has admitted that he molested children. So why would you not believe this to be true? He pretended to be a nice & fun guy in order to gain the trust of young boys and their parents. He is a predator and that's what predators do. And you should thank God that you weren't hurt by this man. And the church leadership did nothing to stop this from happening after they were warned by the school. They are almost as much to blame as Cesar.
Very Concerned February 16, 2012 at 08:49 PM
John--Look up the charges and their meanings. They are heinous. And this is what he admitted to. Sorry, but you/he can't plead ignorance here! He will NOT get out. More are coming forward. I'm thankful that you weren't effected by this, because if you were, you wouldn't be making such statements and judgements about these kids! You are not the only person who looked up to him, these boys did too. They aren't lying.
Angela Chao (Editor) February 16, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Latest update: http://patch.com/A-qSB7 - NorthStar Church responds to the Barber Middle School incident in an email.
Tragic February 16, 2012 at 10:51 PM
"We are aware of the incident with Barber Middle School, but due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing investigation of Cesar Pastrana, we are not at liberty to comment further," said NorthStar Church spokesman Randy Elster. Really . . . I think this says it all! 12 year old victim = Hero NorthStar Church = Be very ashamed
I follow Christ, not the church February 17, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Wow, "we are aware", how about "We were aware" of course they aren't going to admit to that, now that the lawyers are involved. May the Lord have Mercy on the leaderships souls." It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin" Luke 17:2
Ethan Tremblay February 17, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Why in the world do you think he is innocent? he turned himself in! and do you think boys like to be touched by an older man?
sad and brokenhearted February 17, 2012 at 04:30 AM
you can go to the jail and talk to him... see what he tells you and then let us know how you feel about the situation and the innocent victims he has molested and yes molested.... ask him yourself. It is sad that with all the evidence you write something like this.... Warren you need to be ashamed.
Better Laws and More Punishment February 18, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Here is the sad part people....there is no punishment for this crime. I am sure he and other molesters in the news recently will get a slap on the wrist like the rest of the child molesters and child rapists out there. Don’t you think if there was a real punishment out there for this crime then maybe just maybe the crime rate would go down? Let’s say you steal you lose a finger or you rape you lose your penis WOW what a concept If this and other recent child rape cases in the news piss you off then please call you elected officials and get something done. I can assure you that the next candidate that runs for office who puts the budget on the back burner but offers to do something to people that rape or molest he or she has my vote. When will our laws change to protect the people? AGAIN I WILL SAY THERE IS NO REAL PUNISHMENT FOR THIS CRIME THEREFORE IT WILL CONTINUE! Sad but this is your wakeup call America!
Concerned February 18, 2012 at 02:48 AM
I would like to understand why, if Cesar Pastrana had been barred from the campus of Barber middle school two years ago, did my 9th grader meet him at a club meeting at North Cobb High School this year. Is there not some system within the Cobb County School System whereby all schools are made aware of possible dangers to students? Why was he allowed to come onto a school campus and present himself as a role model?
PJ February 18, 2012 at 06:05 AM
@Concerned, that is what is so disturbing. NorthStar ministered to youth at several schools in the area with their FCA and Fish clubs. The church was aware that he was banned, the pastor was fully aware, and they still allowed Cesar to participate in these events. The church needs to be held accountable for allowing this man to continue to be involved with students. The principal of the middle school followed all protocol that she was suppose to do. She even notified the pastor of the church he was representing, she probably didn't realize that he would continue to let him represent the church and work with youth. @So Sad my heart goes out to you and your family during this time, but if you talk with other parents of other children involved the truth will be revealed.
heavy hearted February 24, 2012 at 03:26 PM
I am just saddened how the lead pastor seems to have not regret of overlooking the signs two years ago.... I really thought he would be honest with his congregation let them know the truth.... instead he just moving on as if he did it all right.... wonder if it had ben his young son receiving those texts two years ago - if the RED flag would have been any bigger and he would have realized this youth leader did not need to be working with young boys.... he owes his church honesty is all I can say... I don't know how he is sleeping at night.... knowing all the boys molested in the last two years are on his hands. It should have been stopped when the middle school principal was smart enough to know this Man did not need to be around youth and made sure she protected her school. Shouldn't a church be on guard even more than the school system.
So sad February 24, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I can't believe a Godly man would knowingly overlook info that was clearly a red flag. Hindsight is always 20/20. My family is involved. We are heartbroken. But we will let the authorities figure out who holds responsibility. We will pray for truth. This comment thread is the only place I am hearing information right now. And we are all anonymous... I want to know the truth, but willing to wait.
heavy hearted February 25, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Sheila you must be from the church and yes I understand that he did address his church on the Sunday after this happened. The sad thing is he didn't reveal to his church body of the incident 2 years prior that was a big RED flag regarding issues of Cesar where the middle school addressed a very sensitive matter with him about Cesars inappropriate actions and because of its nature the school banned him from their school and their student body.... but your church leader allowed him to continue to work with the youth and young boys of this church... I also understand that they have had several complaints over the years about this youth leader but chose to keep in the volunteer role allowing him to spend time with these young boys. I understand the number continues to grow that have been victimized and from my opinion all these boys would not have been victimized if he had only acted as he should have two years ago. do not understand what would have to have happened for him to have seen signs this youth leader did not need to be in the role the church had put him in.
It's Just Sad February 25, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Wonder why that Sheila person erased her (above) comment? Maybe she changed her mind about defending Northstar after heavy hearted laid out the facts .....
So sad February 25, 2012 at 08:57 PM
We do not know any details about the letter. But we do know that he was allowed to continue volunteering at other Cobb County schools. I continue to believe that church did not believe that he was a threat to their kids. And whatever led Barber to ban him was not communicated to N Star or other schools as a big red flag. He's volunteered at McClure and n cobb... We desperately need to find new ways to protect our kids , but throwing stones without all the facts is not going to help or heal.
So sad February 25, 2012 at 09:02 PM
I too am heavy hearted. I've cried every day since this has been uncovered. But the leadership of the church are not the evil ones here. They were deceived like all of us around Cesar. Now everyone looks back and sees red flags. Please pray!
PJ February 25, 2012 at 11:21 PM
So Sad, I suggest to ask your student pastor and your senior pastor. The above comments would not of been left if they weren't warranted. Their is Truth, you need to ask. No one wants to believe that the people that they trust and look up to would betray the very ones that they are leading. ASK them for yourself. The people that have left comments are hurting too, and they are outraged that what happened to their children could of been avoided.
PJ February 25, 2012 at 11:46 PM
And you can't pawn this off on the schools. He volunteered as a representative of N.Star. That is in North Stars court.


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