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Man accused of having women strip nude in religious ceremonies

March 8, 2012 |  9:24 pm

Authorities were continuing their investigation Thursday of a Riverside County man who allegedly convinced young women to strip nude for photographs as part of religious ceremonies.

Efrain Bernal, 41, was being held Thursday after a search warrant was served at his East Hemet home, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said.

Efrain BernalInvestigators obtained the warrant after they received allegations regarding the women who were photographed naked.

While interviewing people at the home, authorities said, investigators discovered that Bernal allegedly had sexually abused a female relative since she was a child. The alleged abuse took place over a 10-year period.

Bernal was being held at the Southwest Detention Center on suspicion of committing several sex crimes, including the continued sexual abuse of a minor, the Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

Authorities said the investigation was ongoing and asked anyone with information to call (951) 791-3400.

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-- Robert J. Lopez

twitter.com/LAJourno

Photo: Efrain Bernal Credit: Riverside County Sheriff's Department

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