Elder at San Diego Megachurch Arrested in Alleged Abuse Death of 11-Year-Old Daughter

By Julie Roys
the rock church abuse death
Leticia McCormack (left), an ordained elder at The Rock Church in San Diego, California, is pictured with her deceased adoptive daughter, Arabella. (Photos via social media)

An ordained elder at a megachurch in San Diego, California, has been arrested on suspicion of abuse and murder in the death of her 11-year-old daughter, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

The elder, Leticia McCormack, 49, was arrested Monday and faces murder and torture charges stemming from the August 30th death of her daughter, Arabella McCormack, officials said. Also arrested and suspected in the girl’s death is McCormack’s father, Stanley Tom, 75, and his 70-year-old wife, Adella Tom, the sheriff’s department said.

Arabella had 6- and 7-year-old sisters, who are currently living with a foster family, officials said.

In addition to the murder charge, McCormack faces three counts of willful cruelty to a child and three counts of torture, as do her parents.

McCormack served as an elder and ministry leadership coordinator for the Rock School of Ministry at the Rock Church pastored by former NFL player Miles McPherson. Rock Church has weekly attendance over 19,000 and is a member of the scandal-plagued Association of Related Churches (ARC). McPherson serves on the  ARC Lead Team.

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Rock Church Miles McPherson
The Rock Church Pastor Miles McPherson (Courtesy Photo)

The Roys Report (TRR) reached out to Rock Church for comment but did not immediately hear back.

As published earlier in The Roys Report (TRR), Arabella McCormack was found at her home in Spring Valley, California, on August 30 by deputies responding to a call of a child in distress. The child was then transported to the hospital where her health declined and she died.

Deputies suspected child abuse and contacted Arabella’s father, Brian McCormack. The father reportedly took his life when investigators approached him near his home to question him.

Arabella and her sisters were adopted by the McCormacks. The children’s biological parents, Chelsey Sambrano and Torriana Florey, previously told TRR that had seen pictures of their children, which show that all three were emaciated. The children also reportedly had bruises and scabs on their body, as well as broken teeth and signs of broken bones.

The parents said the surviving children had to be hospitalized and were suffering from an electrolyte imbalance that occurs when feeding is reinstated after severe malnutrition.

Both Sambrano and Florey said they noticed signs of abuse shortly after their children were placed in the McCormacks’ home. The two said they reported their suspicions to the Rock Church and Child Welfare Services, but neither organization took their reports seriously.

rock church abuse arabella
The Rock Church – Point Loma Campus in San Diego, Califronia (Courtesy Photo)

Rock Church has had other incidents of child abuse involving its employees.

This year, David Looney, a former teacher at Rock Academy, a K-12 school run by Rock Church, pleaded guilty to crimes associated with the alleged sexual abuse of a former Rock Academy student. Court records show an anonymous plaintiff has also sued Looney and Rock Church this year for damages in civil court.

In 2013, multiple anonymous families sued the Rock Church in civil court, alleging another church employee had sexually abused their children.

Both civil suits have since been dismissed, court records show.

Responding to Monday’s arrests, which came after a two-month investigation, the sheriff’s department said, “The safety of our children is of paramount importance to the Sheriff’s Department. We respond to all reports alleging child abuse and neglect. . . . Gathering evidence and conducting interviews must be done methodically while protecting the children and preserving the rights of parents and family members.”

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12 thoughts on “Elder at San Diego Megachurch Arrested in Alleged Abuse Death of 11-Year-Old Daughter”

  1. It angers & saddens me so much to see children harmed, but, it especially angers & saddens me when said children are supposedly under the extra loving protection of a praying church family! All of the signs were dismissed! Shameful! Cringeworthy! Despicable! In Matthew 18:10, Jesus said: “See that you do not despise or think less of one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven [are in the presence of and] continually look upon the face of My Father who is in heaven.” (AMP)

  2. Part of the Jamieson Fausset and Brown Bible Commentary on Titus 1:7

    …steward of God–The greater the master is, the greater the virtues required in His servant [Bengel], (1Ti 3:15); the Church is God’s house, over which the minister is set as a steward (He 3:2-6; 1Pe 4:10, 17). Note: ministers are not merely Church officers, but God’s stewards; Church government is of divine appointment.

    not self-willed–literally, “self-pleasing”; unaccommodating to others; harsh, the opposite of “a lover of hospitality” (Tit 1:6); so Nabal (1Sa 25:1-44); self-loving and imperious; such a spirit would incapacitate him for leading a willing flock, instead of driving.

    not given to wine–(See on 1Ti 3:3; 1Ti 3:8).

    not given to filthy lucre–not making the Gospel a means of gain (1Ti 3:3, 8). In opposition to those “teaching for filthy lucre’s sake” (Tit 1:11; 1Ti 6:5; 1Pe 5:2).

    “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;” (Tit 1:7, KJV)

    Many church leaders seem to be having a hard time living up to the above verse❗🤔🤑

    No Abigails in church leadership?

  3. Adopted by abusive parents. How tragic. Just shows that the authorities need to do their due diligence, regardless of the religious credentials of the applicants.

  4. Sad for the kid. Not surprised though. Would rather have members of the Church of Satan babysit my kids than anyone who falls for a megachurch. I’m not even kidding.

  5. Forget what the “church” says, watch what it does. Period. Silence in this case speaks volumes. If what a church does is demonic in the depth of the evil it is a Satanic Church. Everyone is judged by what they do or do not do. Speech inconsistent with actions is just lying. And there is a whole lot of that going on in this world.

  6. Tanner Essenbaum

    Reporting the truth? Maybe. Restoring the church? Good luck with that. This Rock Church seems like a hellish place if you are a child. How many other stories do we have to hear about this kind of corruption before we start asking “Where is God in all of this?” I think you already know the answer.

  7. So im reading reports that this church was notified of abuse but did nothing – nothing. Meanwhile 1 little girl dead and her sisters also showing signs of abuse. Little wonder people leave churches. Probable pro-life churches filled with reprobate minds.

  8. Why is this happening so often? Missions, churches are infected by these satanic persons, where is the accountability. Keep doing this Ms. Roys! Expose them!

  9. So sad breaks me that the church did not take any action when notified by the biological parents.
    I was a member of the Rock Church for many years. I stopped going when they close down during the pandemic I thought that was wrong and so I went back to my old church in City Heights were I raised my kids and I’m glad I went back I don’t have anything against the Rock Church, but after reading this article, it breaks me that they were notified by the biological parents and they didn’t do anything.
    Prayers for the two siblings that survived and will be traumatized for the rest of their lives. If there’s anything that we could do for them for the holidays coming up, how can we help these two kids during the holidays?

  10. They knew but did nothing. How terrible & sinister of this so ministry to not look into this horrific situation just to save face.

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