300-year sentence handed down to former Tulare youth pastor for child molestations in ’90s

A Tulare man was sentenced on Friday to 300 years in prison for molesting a group of children in the late 1990s.

Steven Brian Arey was convicted in April on 20 counts of lewd acts with a child under the age of 14, according to a statement from the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office. Each count carried the special allegations of “substantial sexual conduct” and being “committed against multiple victims,” the DA’s office said.

Each count was a felony and considered a strike offense.

The majority of the crimes took place over a period of six years beginning in 1996. The victim was a boy between 7 and 13 years old at the time.

Two more victims, both females under the age of 13, were assaulted between 1996 and 2001, according to the DA’s office.

Arey was a former youth pastor who was working for the California Department of Corrections in Santa Clarita at the time of his arrest in 2019. He was one of two men arrested for molestation with ties to the same church in Visalia.

In addition to the sentence, the 52-year-old will be required to register as a sex offender.