Ruven Meulenberg, 32, Lake Forest (also known as Ruben Meulenberg) has been arrested on three felony counts of lewd acts on a child and two felony counts of lewd acts on a child under age 14, according to a report by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
The OCDA office has included the following sentencing enhancements: Multiple victims. Meulenberg is scheduled for arraignment in court at 10 a.m. on June 9 at Department CJ-1 at the Central Jail in Santa Ana where he is being held currently on $1 million bail.
Circumstances of the Case
- At the time of the crime, Meulenberg is accused of being a volunteer youth mentor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest in a position of trust with access to children.
- Between May 2016 and May 2017, Meulenberg is accused of committing lewd acts on 13-year-old boys John Doe 1 and John Doe 2, both on and off church property.
- Between May 18, 2017, and May 22, 2017, the defendant is again accused of sexually molesting the victims, who were then 14 years old.
- On May 24, 2017, a Saddleback Church representative reported suspected inappropriate conduct to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), who investigated this case.
- Meulenberg was arrested by OCSD on Thursday, May 25, 2017.
Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Courtney Thom, Sexual Assault Unit
Saddleback Church issued the following response to news of the arrest:
We are shocked and grieved to share that this week a Saddleback member reported that a student ministry volunteer had acted inappropriately with two 14-year-old boys. Of course, our staff quickly reported this accusation to our Orange County Sherriff’s Department. The next day, the volunteer was arrested on suspicion of the offense. The investigation of the accusation is now in the hands of the proper authorities.
We ask you to do two things: first, please pray for the Saddleback families who are involved in this sad matter; second, 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.
As a part of Saddleback, you know that our church has been built on the service of thousands of volunteers who donate hundreds of thousands of hours of their time. Most of you know that for decades we’ve had extremely high requirements and strict procedures in place for anyone who volunteers in our student and children ministries.
To be considered for volunteering with kids or students, we require fingerprinting, professional background checks, and personal interviews. 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. 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.
Please pray for everyone involved. We love you.
Johnson Attorneys Group 800-235-6801
Attorney James Johnson is an experienced and prominent trial lawyer who advocates for survivors who have suffered sexual abuse and or exploitation by perpetrators. As founder of Johnson Attorneys Group, Mr. Johnson has overseen all types of cases involving negligence and has represented thousands of clients who have suffered emotional and physical abuse as well as helped them obtain compensation for their losses. He is passionate about his work and seeking justice on behalf of the brave men, women, and children he has represented over the years. Call our law offices for a FREE CONSULTATION.
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