Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect the suspect is a former attendee of Victory Outreach.
SAN DIEGO — A man accused of sexually assaulting a minor pleaded not guilty to multiple counts in his first court appearance on Tuesday.
Rafael Magana, 27, was arrested in the 2100 block of East Plaza Boulevard in National City on Aug. 24 — roughly two years after the alleged incident between him and a then 15-year-old girl.
On Nov. 6, 2021, Jane Doe — as the victim was referred to during court proceedings Tuesday — attended a baby shower at the home of a member of her church, Victory Outreach San Ysidro.
According to SDPD, Magana, who was 25 years old at the time, drove her to the shower, but did not drive her straight home afterwards. Instead, authorities said he took the teen to the Paradise Hills neighborhood, where he parked the car and allegedly sexually assaulted her in the vehicle.
The girl, now 17 years old, reported the incident to SDPD earlier this year in March, prompting the Sex Crimes Unit to begin an in investigation.
Police have said the girl was assaulted by a church choir group leader, but on Sept. 6, the church emailed to FOX 5 a statement saying the accusations involve “former attendees of Victory Outreach” and “do not refer to any person that has ever served in a leadership position at the church.”
On Tuesday, Magana, alongside his lawyer, entered his not guilty plea to four counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child between the ages of 14 and 15.
In court, the judge kept his bail at $100,000 with a protection order attached that prevents him from having any contact with Jane Doe and the Victory Outreach.
“Sir you are not to have any contact, stay more than 100 yards away from Jane Doe,” said the judge. “Stay away from Victory Outreach Church, stay more than 100 yards away from that church,” the judge continued.
If convicted, Magana faces up to five years in prison. He is due back in court on September 26 for a readiness hearing.
During the course of their investigation, SDPD said Magana has also been identified with the aliases Rafael Burciaga and Rafael Magana-Burciaga.
Below is the full statement from Victory Outreach:
“We are saddened by accusations involving several, former attendees of Victory Outreach, San Ysidro (“YOSY”). Contrary to misleading media reports, these accusations do not refer to any person that has ever served in a leadership position at the church.
Due to the seriousness of the accusations and ongoing legal proceedings, we cannot provide you with further information at this time.
We will be praying for all those affected. Thank you for your patience and understanding while we continue to assess the situation and determine the best course forward.”
Officials are requesting anyone who has information regarding this case or might have been the victim of a similar assault by a man under either of these names to contact SDPD’s Sex Crimes Unit at 619-531-2210 or leave a tip with Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.