Todd M. Edwards, 49, of Murietta entered a plea of not guilty Friday to charges of sexual battery, sexual penetration with a foreign object, and witness intimidation. He is being held at the Robert Preston Detention Center in Riverside with bail set at $65,000.
Edwards, who previously served as bishop of the Menifee Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is the subject of an investigation of incidents dating back to 2006, police reported. Investigators determined he committed the sexual assaults in November 2006 and February 2012. The investigation revealed the suspect was known by the victims and their families.
A third victim was identified during the investigation; however, the statute of limitations prevented criminal charges from being filed.
George Kramer, a spokesman for the LDS Church, said Edwards was released as bishop when the allegations came to light. He no longer attends Menifee Ward and currently holds no position in the church.
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind," Kramer said. "Anyone who abuses a child is rightfully subject to both criminal prosecution and formal church discipline."
Sheriff investigators believe there may be other victims and urge them to come forward and contact law enforcement to report the crimes.
Anyone with additional information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact Investigator John Wyatt, at the Menifee Police Department by calling 951-210-1000, or PerrisStation@RiversideSheriff.org.