A NewSpring Church volunteer charged with molesting a three-year-old child was previously removed from working with children at Elevation Church due to an “uneasy feeling” about his interactions with kids, the megachurch has revealed.
Elevation Church, a multi-site congregation led by Steven Furtick, said in a statement shared by Baptist News that Jacop “Jake” Hazlett volunteered to watch children at the church’s Lake Norman location in late 2014.
There were “no incidents” stemming from Hazlett’s interactions with the children, the statement said. However, he was moved to an administrative volunteer role after just a few months because campus leadership began to have an “uneasy feeling” about his interactions with children.
“There were no incidents or events at the campus that led to him being moved in 2015, however, the campus leadership did have an uneasy feeling with how he interacted with supervised kids prompting a discussion with him and we made the decision to move him,” the statement said.
Hazlett, 28, remained in that role until he moved to Charleston, South Carolina, in January 2018. He’s now facing multiple felony charges after allegedly molesting numerous preschool boys over a period of 90 days inside a bathroom at the Charleston campus of NewSpring Church.
Initially, Hazlett was charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor first degree after he was accused of performing a sex act on a 3-year-old boy while serving NewSpring Church as a volunteer in the 3 to 5-year-old room, called “The Tree House.” Police later added eight counts of child sexual abuse against Hazlett after he reportedly admitted to “inappropriately touching numerous children” while volunteering at the megachurch.
A lawsuit filed last week accuses the NewSpring volunteer of attacking at least 13 other children as well.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett