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San Ramon Pastor Facing Child Sex, Animal Cruelty Charges

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Local pastor arrested.

A San Ramon pastor known locally as “Pastor John” has been charged with having unlawful sexual intercourse with a child, hiding a child, and animal cruelty in a case which has raised questions about the non-profit ministry he headed.

Police arrested Hyo Bin Im, 33, late last month after information developed by police and child welfare groups led to the discovery of two teenage runaways at Im’s San Ramon home. A police search uncovered evidence that Im was engaged in a sexual relationship with one of the girls, and that he was taking steps to conceal the presence of the second minor, the girl’s sister, in his home.

Evidence that Im’s mistreatment of a small dog led to the animal’s death while it was under his care was also allegedly found, leading to the additional charge, police said. The dog, found suffering from a broken femur and other injuries, had to be put down.

Investigators determined that Im first met the girls in 2010, through their association with the Salvation Army Korean Corps in San Francisco. Im is the head of Living Well Ministries, an nonprofit organization authorities said he created to to help teens, the homeless and widows.

Im has worked at the Contra Costa Korean Presbyterian Church as a youth pastor since 2012. He tendered his resignation at the church after his arrest and currently remains free after posting $180,000 bail.

An investigation into Living Well and Im’s operation of the organization is ongoing, police said. Anyone with information about Im or any additional victims is asked to call Detective Rob Ransom at (925) 973-2715.