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 is now being held on $100,000 bail.
Today was the first time Sunday services were held since the arrest.
CBS 2’s Greg Mills spoke to congregants who, suffice to say, were not happy hearing the news.
“It’s not acceptable,” said Lennard Cowans.
Many, like Cowans were hearing the news for the first time.
It was a church member who reportedly told church officials Muelenbeg had acted inappropriately with two 14-year-old boys. The official, in turned, called the O.C. Sheriff’s Department.
“They handled the situation effectively,” said Laolu Oladapo.
Mulenberg and his twin brother have written religious childrens’ books, have a religious website and video game.
The arrested Mulenberg has volunteered at the church for six years and worked as a junior high school mentor.
According to the church website, that position is “designed specifically to help 7th and 8th graders connect with Jesus, each other and a caring adult.”
The two teens told authorities that the inappropriate incidents occurred over the last year, some of them allegedly on church grounds.
“It’s not something that, not anyone would condone not only here at Saddleback,” said Cowans. “but any person wouldn’t condone any kind of interaction like that with a youth.”
Mills tried to reach a church pastor Sunday but was told he was unavailable.
The church did send an email to their congregants detailing their background checks on volunteers and wrote, “In this case, the accused volunteer has no record or arrest or criminal charges.”
Not everyone received that email.
“It’s the first I heard of it. So, it’s pretty shocking,” said Sandi Caminiti.
Authorities are concerned there may be more victims in the case.