Disgraced megachurch pastor James MacDonald has been arrested and charged with felony assault and battery in California, after authorities say he attacked a 59-year-old woman, resulting in “serious injuries.”
According to a criminal complaint filed by the San Diego County District Attorney’s office, MacDonald faces one charge of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and one count of battery with serious bodily injury.
“James MacDonald personally inflicted great bodily injury upon Barbara Bass . . .” the complaint reads. It adds that MacDonald “did willfully and unlawfully use force and violence” on Bass.
If convicted of all charges, MacDonald faces seven years in prison, according to Tanya Sierra, assistant director of communications for the San Diego County District Attorney’s office.
MacDonald has pleaded not guilty, Sierra said.
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MacDonald’s attorney, Michael Pancer, said in a statement to The Roys Report (TRR), “James MacDonald has never, nor would ever, intentionally harm another human being. The charges as written are not accurate as to what took place. We believe the evidence will show Dr. MacDonald’s intent and conduct was neither malicious, nor correctly assigned, in the charges filed.”
The incident involving MacDonald and Bass occurred on March 22 and was reported on Facebook at the time by the Coronado Police Department. However, the initial statement by police simply identified the alleged assailant as a “62-year-old man.”
After receiving a tip, TRR reached out to the Coronado Police Department. Police spokesperson Lea Corbin responded and confirmed that the 62-year-old man involved in the alleged assault was James MacDonald.
According to the police statement, the assault happened after MacDonald struck a car parked in front of him while attempting to parallel park his truck on the 900 block of Orange Avenue in Coronado at 10:15 a.m. The occupant of the car, a 59-year-old woman, got out of her car to talk to MacDonald, the statement said. MacDonald then reportedly “jumped out of his truck and attacked the victim.”
The statement said the victim sustained “serious injuries” and was transported to the hospital.
The alleged attack comes four years after MacDonald was fired from Chicago-area megachurch, Harvest Bible Chapel, for “engaging in conduct . . . contrary and harmful to the best interests of the church.”
Prior to his firing, TRR had published numerous articles, documenting MacDonald’s alleged bullying, spiritual abuse, and financial misconduct. Chicago radio personality Mancow Muller had also broadcast a vulgar “hot mic” recording in which MacDonald joked about planting child porn on the computer of a Christian media executive. Later, Muller and MacDonald’s former bodyguard told TRR that MacDonald had asked them to find a hitman to kill someone.
Police said that during the recent attack, MacDonald’s truck rolled backwards and struck the vehicle parked behind him. They added that witnesses came to the victim’s aid and stopped MacDonald from leaving the area.
When officers arrived on the scene, they arrested MacDonald, police said. They added that they found a “stolen gun” inside MacDonald’s truck. However, Corbin told TRR that the gun was not stolen, as initially reported.
Police closed Orange Avenue, a busy street in Coronado, for 1½ hours while officers investigated.
A friend of the victim sent TRR the picture below, which she said was taken the day after the assault when MacDonald reportedly returned to the alleged crime scene.
Lt. Alex Navarro of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department told TRR that MacDonald was booked into San Diego Central Jail on March 22 around 2:30 p.m. He was released on $35,000 bail the same day just before 11:00 p.m.
A week after the incident, on March 29, MacDonald was arraigned on the assault and battery charges, according to spokesperson Tanya Sierra.
MacDonald is scheduled to appear for a readiness hearing on June 14 and a preliminary hearing on July 6, Sierra said.
TRR has requested a copy of MacDonald’s mugshot but was told that California law prohibits the release of mugshots unless there is “an immediate threat to public safety.”
UPDATE: After this story published, TRR received a copy of minimal police report from the Coronado Police Department. In a letter sent with the report, Coronado Police Records Specialist Jennifer Reloj stated: “There was a police investigation regarding the records that you have requested, specifically related to an incident occurring on March 22, 2023. Police investigative files and official information are privileged and confidential pursuant to California statutory and case law. . .”
Police Letter and Record:James MacDonald Police Report_Redacted1
James S. MacDonald Criminal Complaint – San Diego County – April 12, 2023James S. MacDonald Criminal Complaint
Julie Roys is a veteran investigative reporter and founder of The Roys Report. She also previously hosted a national talk show on the Moody Radio Network, called Up for Debate, and has worked as a TV reporter for a CBS affiliate. Her articles have appeared in numerous periodicals.