A former youth mentor at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California was convicted by a jury Wednesday of molesting twin teenage boys.
Meulenberg, who the church claims as only a volunteer, was accused of committing the molestations between May 2016 and May 2017 against the twin brothers he mentored at Saddleback Church Youth Center. The actions allegedly occurred off church property.
Deputy District Attorney Courtney Thom reportedly described for jurors earlier this month an incident that happened when Meulenberg took the twin brothers to a movie theatre. The youth mentor is said to have encouraged one of the boys to sit on his lap and proceeded to kiss the 14-year-old boy on the on the head, cheek and mouth.
Meulenberg allegedly asked the boy to switch seats with his brother after the boy said that he didn’t feel comfortable kissing Meulenberg. Meulenberg proceed to molest the other boy in a similar fashion.
“This occurred in isolation in the back row of a darkened movie theater,” Thom said. “This is not saying hello or goodbye. This is the defendant manipulating his position of trust and confusing these young boys to see how far he could go.”
On the way home from the theater, Meulenberg had one of the boys sit between his legs in the backseat of a car.
Once the boys got home, they told their mother what had occured. The mother then contacted the church to report the boy’s allegations.
In statement released last May, Saddleback Church explained that a church representative called the police on May 24, 2017 to report the allegations. Meulenberg was arrested the next day.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith