SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — A 32-year-old church “youth mentor” accused of molesting two 14-year-old boys faced nearly a half-dozen felony charges Tuesday.
Ruven Meulenberg of Lake Forest was expected to be arraigned on three counts of lewd acts on a child 14 or 15 years old and two
counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor younger than 14.
He was arrested after sheriff’s deputies received a tip last Wednesday that a junior high school youth mentor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest was allegedly involved in an “inappropriate relationship” with a 14-year-old boy.
While investigating that report, deputies say they found another 14-year-old boy who Meulenberg also allegedly victimized.
The teens told detectives Meulenberg had “engaged in inappropriate conduct” with them over the last year in his role as a church volunteer, according to officials.
Some of the alleged conduct occurred on church grounds, and one of the boys attends the church and was part of a Junior High Ministry program when he was allegedly molested, investigators said.
In response to the allegations, Saddleback Church released a letter to its congregation stating that Meulenberg had “no record
of arrest or criminal charges” when he submitted to a background check in place to screen volunteers.
“To be considered for volunteering with kids or students, we require fingerprinting, professional background checks and personal interviews,” according to the letter.
The dates of the alleged incidents are May 22 and May 18 of this year and May 10 of last year, according to court records.
Because Meulenberg volunteered at the church for about six years, investigators say they are concerned there may be more victims.
Anyone with relevant information for investigators was asked to call (714) 647-7418 or (714) 647-7000. Orange County Crime Stoppers will accept anonymous tips at (855) TIP-OCCS.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)