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Calif. man got girls to strip for "religion," say cops

Efrain Bernal CBS Los Angeles

(CBS) HEMET , Calif. - A man accused of asking teenage girls to strip for photos as part of alleged religious ceremonies was arrested Wednesday, reports CBS Los Angeles.

Efrain Bernal, 41, was booked on several sexual abuse-related crimes including continued sexual abuse of a child and sodomy with a child under 10.

On Wednesday sheriff's deputies searched Bernal's home after receiving a report of possible sexual misconduct. Deputies interviewed members of the household, and discovered that Bernel had been sexually abusing an adult female family member since she was a child over the span of 10 years, according to a sheriff's department report.

Bernal's daughter, Destiny Audish, spoke to CBS Los Angeles saying, "I always had a feeling something was off about him, but I just kinda pushed it in the back of my head because it's not something you want to believe about your father."

During their search, police also found pornographic pictures of girls under the age of 18 that they believe were shot by Bernal.

Bernal's daughter said that her father conducted Bible services at their home and that she was beginning to feel uncomfortable about how close he was getting to some of the girls he was supposed to be ministering to.

"You know, he would use God as a way for them to just wanna trust him, to believe him," Audish said.

Bernal is being held on $1 million bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Riverside and is scheduled to appear in court Friday.

Anyone with information about Bernal can call the Hemet Sheriff's Station at (951) 791-3400.


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