A volunteer youth leader at Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church has been arrested and is under investigation for preying on teens.
The Christian Post reports that 32-year-old Ruven Meulenberg, who has been a volunteer junior high youth mentor at the California megachurch for six years, was arrested by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department after a parent notified authorities of Meulenberg’s conduct. His bail has been set at $100,000.
Meulenberg is being accused of performing lewd acts with two teenage boys who attend Saddleback and of fostering an “inappropriate relationship” with the youths.
Saddleback Church has expressed “shock and grief” after learning of the accusations against Meulenberg.
"We ask you to do two things: First, please pray for the Saddleback families who are involved in this sad matter. Second,” the statement continued, “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 Church added that they have long had strict safeguards in place for potential children’s and teen ministry volunteers, including background checks, so the news regarding Meulenberg was especially shocking.
Saddleback is one of the largest megachurches in the U.S., with a weekly attendance of over 20,000 people.
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Publication date: May 30, 2017