Saddleback Church Youth Volunteer Suspected Of Lewd Conduct With 14-Year-Old Boys

LAKE FOREST (CBSLA.com) – A youth volunteer at an Orange County megachurch has been arrested on suspicion of having inappropriate relations with at least two boys.

Ruven Meulenberg, who volunteers as a junior high youth mentor with Saddleback Church, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with a child following a parent’s report, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

He was booked into Orange County Jail and held on $100,000 bail.  A court date was scheduled for May 30.

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The parent claimed the 32-year-old had an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old boy. During the investigation, a second victim – another 14-year-old boy – was identified, investigators said.

Both boys told investigators they had engaged in inappropriate conduct with Meulenberg for the past year. According to investigators, several alleged incidents of lewd and inappropriate conduct occurred on the church property.

One of the boys attended Saddleback Church and was part of the Junior High Ministry program.

Meulenberg and his twin brother, known as the ‘Tornado Twins,’ are well known in the youth ministry circle. They write children’s books, have a website called Kids Want Answers and had a part in creating a video game about the Bible.

A former church employee told CBS2’s Michele Gile that several Meulenberg’s relatives worked or still work at the church.  That employee also said the suspect’s father is a pastor from Holland.

Since Meulenberg volunteered at the church for approximately six years, investigators said they believed there may be additional victims based on Meulenberg’s “leadership role and access to children.”

“We fear that there might be more victims in this case based on his accessibility to young children – the position that he held as a volunteer mentor,” said  Lt. Lane Lagaret of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Anyone with information regarding additional victims is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victim’s Detail at (714) 647-7418 or (714) 647-7000.

The founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church Rick Warren has not responded to a request for comment.

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