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American minister released on bail arrested in Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico — An American man wanted on child sex abuse charges has been arrested in Mexico City.

Fernando Maldonado, 37, is a former Bay Area minister who fled to Mexico while on trial for 23 counts of child sex abuse.

Maldonado was arrested in Mexico City Wednesday where he was held until being transported to Los Angeles for extradition back to Contra Costa Country where he has a court appearance April 13.

The ex-Bay Area minister was a minister at the Morello Avenue Baptist Church in Martinez where Maldonado is said to have met his victim. In 2014, he left that church and became minister at Grace Bible Church, the same church where his victim had relocated. The abuse continued.

His young victim came forward in 2015, leading authorities to file 23 felony counts against him in December of 2017. He was released one month after his arrest after six families posted $106,000 premium for his $1.2 million bail.

Police say within hours, he fled the country to Mexico. Mexican authorities caught up with the fugitive Wednesday and deported him back to the United States.

Maldonado is facing a maximum of 37 years after being convicted on all 23 counts last year.