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Saddleback Church Youth Mentor Facing 5 Felony Charges for Molesting 2 Boys

Saddleback Church Youth Mentor Facing 5 Felony Charges for Molesting 2 Boys

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, speaks at the Pastors' Conference 2014, ahead of the Southern Baptist Convention's Annual Meeting, on Monday, June 9, 2014, in Baltimore, Md. | (Photo: The Christian Post/Sonny Hong)

The 32-year-old Saddleback Church "youth mentor" who was arrested on Friday is reportedly facing five felony charges concerning lewd acts with at least two young boys.

CBS Los Angeles reported on Tuesday that Ruven Meulenberg is 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.

Meulenberg has been described as a volunteer junior high youth mentor by Saddleback, one of the largest megachurches in America, which is led by best-selling author and preacher Rick Warren.

The southern California church said last week in a letter to members that it was in a state of "shock and grief" over the news.

"Please pray for the investigators as they determine the facts. As followers of Jesus, we always want the whole truth to come out because Jesus taught us that lies enslave us, but the truth sets us free," the letter stated.

Saddleback noted that for decades it has had "extremely high requirements and strict procedures in place" for anyone who volunteers in the student and children ministries, including background checks and fingerprinting.

"We also use services that report any illegal activity to us immediately. In this case, the accused volunteer had no record of arrest or criminal charges." the church stated.

"Also, our church requires volunteers who work with students or children to complete an annual training regarding appropriate conduct. Our system of safeguards has safely served over 40,000 students and children for 38 years."

As CBS noted, sheriff's deputies received a tip last week that Meulenberg, who has written religious books and worked on biblical video games, was suspected to be involved in an "inappropriate relationship" with a 14-year-old boy.

Deputies said that they found another 14-year-old boy who also might have been molested by Meulenberg, and shared fears that there could be other victims as well.

The teenage boys, who were not named, said that the youth mentor had engaged in "inappropriate conduct" with them over the last year at the church.

One of the boys said that he attends Saddleback and was part of a Junior High Ministry program, where he says he was molested.

As The Christian Post reported back in October 2014, Warren had praised the Bible-themed video series that Meulenberg and his twin brother, Efraim, worked on.

The Meulenberg brothers launched a Kickstarter campaign at the time to create "The Game Bible" series, which allows gamers to play their way through biblical stories.

Warren had called the project "a game-changer for families and gamers alike."

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

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