A veteran student mentor with Saddleback Church was arrested on Thursday, May 25, 2017 by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. He’s being held in the Orange County Jail on suspicion of having engaged in both inappropriate conduct and lewd acts with minors after two teenage boys came forward and reported having been molested by the 32-year-old Lake Forest man.
Detectives with the Orange County Special Victim’s Unit began investigating the man the day prior to his arrest after receiving a tip that he and a 14-year-old boy were involved in a potentially inappropriate relationship. It was during their investigation into those claims that detectives were able to identify an additional 14-year-old boy who also was allegedly being sexually abused by the man.
As detectives interviewed the victims, they were able to learn that both of the youths had been involved in a relationship with the man for the past year. They were also able to learn that some of the lewd acts occurred on church grounds. At least one of the two boys was involved in the Lake Forest Junior High School ministry program at the time their relationship with the man commenced.
Over the course of the six years that the man had been working with the church, he had been successful in creating a Bible-based video game that gained wide appeal among the kids he worked with. Given the amount of exposure the man had to impressionable youth during that time frame, detectives fear there may be other victims.
The man is currently being held on $100,000 bail. He was slated to make his first appearance in court on May 30, 2017.
Both juries and judges tend to look poorly upon those who engage in sex acts with those who are not in a position to give their consent. In an instance like this, where this illicit behavior is alleged to have been directed at youth by someone who’s been entrusted to guide them, it can make the situation doubly worse.
A conviction for a sex crime has the potential to greatly impact an offender’s life in the long term. Therefore, if you’ve been charged with a sex crime, it’s imperative that you seek out the advice of an Orange County criminal defense attorney to devise a strategy as to how you’re going to address the charges that have been waged against you.
Source: Lake Forest Patch, “Saddleback Church mentor arrested on suspicion of molestation,” Ashley Ludwig, May 26, 2017