Sunset District church pastor among men arrested in child porn stings

The pastor of a Lutheran church in the Sunset District is among the five men who have been arrested in San Francisco for allegedly having or distributing child pornography since last month, police announced Tuesday.

Rev. Steven Sabin, a 59-year-old pastor at Christ Church Lutheran at Quintara Street and 20th Avenue, was arrested last Thursday on suspicion of having hundreds of pictures and videos of children being sexually assaulted.

Since October, the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit has arrested Nicholas Fong, 24, a resident of North Beach; Donald Wright, 58, a San Francisco resident and information technology specialist; Elihu Hernandez, 43, a resident of the Tenderloin; and Trevor Schlesinger, 37, a Marina District resident.

The San Francisco Police Department said the men were booked into County Jail on suspicion of child pornography-related charges, but it is not immediately clear whether the District Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges against them.

Sabin was arrested after investigators looking into child pornography posts on social media conducted a search warrant at his home on Market Street between Ninth and Tenth streets and allegedly found child pornography on his cellphone and on a cloud storage device.

No one answered the phone Wednesday at the Christ Church Lutheran where Sabin serves as senior pastor. Sabin previously made headlines in 1998 when he was dismissed from the Lutheran Church in America for being gay.

Lutheranism has numerous sects, each with different teachings on homosexuality and same-sex unions. Sabin joined Christ Church Lutheran in 2001, according to a biography for him on the church website. In 2010, Ecumenical News reported that Sabin was reinstated to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, considered to be the most pro-LGBT segment within the overall denomination.

“If you are looking for a church home, or just looking, we invite you to worship with us,” Sabin wrote in a message on the church website. “There is something special going on in our household of faith: the saving power of Jesus Christ, made known in Word and Sacraments, said and done in the lives of people.”

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

Michael Barba
Share
Published by
Michael Barba

Recent Posts

Trump breaks silence on Cohen sentencing, returns to Mexico wall claim

WASHINGTON — As federal investigators appear to be moving closer and closer to his doorstep, President Donald Trump broke his…

2 hours ago

Judge grants Gascon restraining order against protester

A San Francisco judge granted District Attorney George Gascon a restraining order Thursday against a protester who had been organizing…

2 hours ago

Judson True tapped as Breed’s new director of housing delivery

Mayor London Breed announced Thursday she has tapped Judson True to serve in a newly created position as Director of…

3 hours ago

SF Ballet’s 2018 ‘Nutcracker’ underway with good cheer

In Wednesday’s opening of San Francisco Ballet’s 74th year of “Nutcracker” -- the 14th production of artistic director Helgi Tomasson’s…

3 hours ago

Police respond to series of bomb threats demanding $20K from businesses

A chain of bomb threats sent over email Thursday morning prompted police to scramble to at least nine locations across…

4 hours ago

William Newsom, father of Gavin Newsom, dies at age 84

William Newsom, a retired state appellate court justice and father of Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, died Wednesday morning at his home…

5 hours ago