Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced that a former Catholic priest has been charged with sexually assaulting four boys at two different parishes dating back more than two decades.

“The victims were innocent children who have spent most of their lives with the trauma caused by the abuse alleged in this case,” Gascón said. “My office is committed to holding accountable anyone who abuses and takes advantage of our children, especially when they hold a position of trust.”

Christopher John Cunningham, 58, was charged with 12 felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14. Arraignment will be scheduled for a later date.

The case was filed for a warrant on April 2.

While working as an associate pastor at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Palmdale, the defendant is accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy on two occasions between November 1995 and September 1997. Cunningham also allegedly sexually assaulted a boy at the victim’s home sometime between June 1996 and June 1998.

Cunningham also worked at Saint Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church in Redondo Beach. While there, he is accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy on two occasions between July 1998 and January 2001. During that same time frame, the defendant allegedly sexually assaulted a 10-year-old boy on multiple occasions.