Steven Sabin, Trevor Schlesinger, Nicholas Fong, Donald Wright and Elihu Hernandez (Left to right) were arrested in police child pornography stings (Courtesy SFPD)

Steven Sabin, Trevor Schlesinger, Nicholas Fong, Donald Wright and Elihu Hernandez (Left to right) were arrested in police child pornography stings (Courtesy SFPD)

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

Crime

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Ali Jamalian, whose life was disrupted in the wake of being charged with possession decades ago, now heads up Sunset Connect, a cannabis manufacturing company. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Green Rush: Cannabis equity program elevates unexpected entrepreneurs

‘It’s a form of reparations for those of us who were ruined by cannabis arrest’

The Giants and Dodgers face each other again following a May series the Dodgers swept; Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux caught stealing by Giants second baseman Donovan Solano at Oracle Park on May 23 is pictured. 
Chris Victorio/
Special to The Examiner
Giants vs. Dodgers: What you need to know before this week’s huge series

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner That grinding noise you’ll hear… Continue reading

San Francisco supervisors approved zoning changes that will allow a chain grocery store to occupy the bottom floor of the 555 Fulton St. condo building. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Trader Joe’s approved for Hayes Valley, bringing long-awaited grocery store

New Seasons Market canceled plans at 555 Fulton St. citing construction delays

Most Read