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Church youth leader indicted on over 80 counts of sexual abuse

Church youth leader indicted on over 80 counts of sexual abuse

John C. Sapp Jr., a youth leader at Maranatha Fellowship of Dover, Delaware. In August 2020, it was announced that Sapp was being charged with over 80 counts of child sex abuse tied to two relationships he had with teenage girls. | Delaware Department of Justice

A youth leader for a Delaware church was indicted on more than 80 counts of sex abuse stemming from sexual relationships he had with two teenage girls who attended his youth group.

John C. Sapp Jr., a 34-year-old from Hartly who served as a youth leader at Maranatha Fellowship of Dover, was recently indicted following a confession to his pastor in February.

A spokesman for Delaware's Department of Justice told WBOC on Tuesday that the charges include 33 counts of “Unlawful Sexual Contact Second Degree,” 29 counts of “Sexual Abuse Of A Child By A Person Of Trust First Degree,” 13 counts of “Rape Fourth Degree Sexual Intercourse Victim Less Than 18 Years Old,” and seven counts of “Rape Fourth Degree Sexual Penetration Of Another Person Without Consent.”

Sapp was also charged with three counts of “Sexual Abuse Of A Child By A Person Of Trust Second Degree,” two counts of “Continuous Sexual Abuse Of A Child,” and two counts of “Loitering On Property Of A State- Supported School, College, Or University.”

“We're awaiting a scheduling order from the courts with respect to case review and trial,” said DOJ spokesman Mat Marshall, according to WBOC.

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Sapp confessed to “inappropriately touching” a minor in a meeting with a pastor on Feb. 13. Following the meeting, another teenager stepped forward claiming sexual abuse.

According to court documents reported on by the Delaware News Journal, one of the victims told Delaware State Police that she and Sapp had a “secret relationship” that began in October 2017 when she was 15 and ended in June 2019.

The second girl told police that she had had a “secret sexual relationship” with Sapp that went from January 2019 until January of this year, beginning when she was 16 years old.

The sexual acts between Sapp and his two victims allegedly occurred at multiple places, including his house, his truck, the parking lot of the Dover Campus of Delaware Technical Community College, the church property, and even on a youth group camping trip, reported the News Journal.

Maranatha Fellowship of Dover was founded in 1996 and is affiliated with the Conservative Mennonite Conference. Sapp preached at least one sermon there in December 2013.

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