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Disgraced Megachurch Pastor James MacDonald Charged with Assault After Allegedly Attacking Woman

By Julie Roys
james macdonald assault
An officer in Coronado, Calif., directs traffic at the scene of an alleged assault involving disgraced megachurch pastor James MacDonald. (Photos: Coronado Police Department / Via social media)

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.”

James MacDonald
James MacDonald preaches at Generation Church in Mesa, Arizona, on Dec. 19, 2022. (Source: Video screengrab)

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.

James MacDonald Assault Battery
Police direct traffic at the scene of alleged assault and battery involving James MacDonald on March 22, 2023.
(Photo: Coronado Police Dept. / Facebook)

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.

MacDonald gun
(Photo: Coronado Police Dept. / Facebook)

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.

(Courtesy Photo)

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, 2023

James 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. 



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105 Responses

  1. How many times does the name and cause of Christ have to take a hit from this dude before he gets the Matthew 18:17 treatment – “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector”. The church has been told…..multiple times. He has refused to listen….multiple times. Until he shows true and meaningful repentance he is to be treated as a non-believer and tax collector (it’s almost April 15th, so that one is probably worse than the non-believer anyway!) Until then, Maranatha.

    1. Especially since this is the same Anointed Superapostle who shot deer to pieces on private canned hunts and stabbed pictures of his enemies and their wives in fits of rage.
      Rage Issues + Firearms = TROUBLE. BIG TROUBLE.

      P.S. Can anyone identify the make & model of that 9mm automatic of his?
      The picture is just too low-contrast for me to make out any manufacturer’s stamp.

      P.P.S. And shouldn’t that pistol be wearing an “EMOTIONAL SUPPORT” animal vest?

      (Sent originally under the wrong handle)

    2. Really? Let’s not go that route. As Paul warned Timothy about those who “devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Let’s not jump the “gun” here.

    1. Don,

      Julie has a great interview with Mancow Muller and in the interview Mancow talks about how MacDonald went to great lengths to convince others of how rough and tumble he was.

      I think your comment in 100% accurate and insightful. It could be that time in prison doing prison ministry is what it will take for MacDonald to see that bullying behavior towards others has no place in the church or society.

  2. “ P.S. Can anyone identify the make & model of that 9mm automatic of his?”

    Semi-auto. Big difference. Don’t think he’s gangsta material yet.

    1. “Automatic pistol” has been the term used to refer to semi-auto pistols since their inception around 120 years ago. It was coined to distinguish them from revolvers.

      1. My bad. Looks like you are technically correct, but I’ve not encountered anyone who uses that term in that strict old-school sense, and I’m not a spring chicken with pea shooters. ????

  3. When I started at the church it was 2003. I left the church in 2016. I told my best friend that first year. He is sooooo arrogant. My sweet friend replied, he (jmac) has gotten better. I said, “this is better!?” She left the church about 2 years before me. Now mind you I had a husband who could not see how jmac was arrogant, mean, disrespectful, yelling at people, kicking people when they fell asleep in church. Now this is what I saw just when he preached!!! My husband finally left when Julie wrote that first article on him. [Why does it always take someone else to tell your loved one something that is so evident??????].

    My husband Robert used to volunteer at Share (Moody) and that is where he met Julie. Julie encouraged him because he used to write poems every year at Share and read them on the radio.
    So I thank you Julie for being kind to my husband and that kindness helped him realize the true character of jmac. Julie, you are the best!

    Now my husband and I go to the same church where we have a nerdy pastor who is super humble. We love our new church and will never go back to a megachurch again. [[[ If you have been harmed by HBC and you live out near Sheridan, IL come ck out our church. People love on you because they are genuine! Fox River Lutheran Church: there is nothing Lutheran about it. Just a simple bible church out in the country. You might be surprise what comes out of “Nazareth”. ]]]

  4. A man of God is a man of God,let’s not spread innuendo,gossip,or second quesses about what is going on,and as Christians,we should remember who gave us grace and why.Now,who wants to throw the first stone?

    1. Michael K Bird, well written. Where is mercy and grace being shown in these comments? I read bashing and condemnation. No, I am not defending this pastor…pointing out where is the love. I’m sure Julie Roys would agree.

    2. I think what is being said here is that he is not a man of God, but a wolf and if you go back and read the numerous articles chronicling his issues I think you would agree. What does “man of God” mean anyway?

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