San Diego Police cruiser
A San Diego Police cruiser. Photo by Chris Stone

A 27-year-old church choir leader was in custody Monday on suspicion of sexual assault of a minor that took place in 2021, police reported.

Rafael Valentin Magana was arrested Thursday in National City by San Diego Police on a felony warrant charging him with oral copulation and other lewd and lascivious acts with a minor.

On Nov. 16, 2021, a 15-year-old girl attended a baby shower at the residence of a member of her church. The girl was a member of a church choir group at the Victory Outreach Church campus at 1665 Precision Park Lane in San Ysidro.

The choir group was composed of adults and minors, and her group leader drove her to the baby shower. After the event, instead of driving the girl back to her residence, he allegedly drove her to the 1800 block of Reo Drive in the city of San Diego where he parked the car, according to police.

The man allegedly sexually assaulted the girl inside the car. Afterwards, he drove the girl home.

Due to a confluence of factors, the girl did not report the assault until March 1, 2023. The SDPD Sex Crimes Unit began to investigate and detectives identified a suspect as Magana with aliases of Rafael Burciaga and Rafael Magana-Burciaga. .

On Thursday, around 6 p.m., officers arrested Magana in the 2100 block of East Plaza Boulevard in National City. Magana was booked into San Diego County Jail.

Anyone with information about the assault or was a victim of a similar assault, was asked to call the SDPD Sex Crimes Unit at 619-531-2210 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.