Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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November 22, 2013

Former church youth teacher, mentor under investigation for alleged sexual abuse of juveniles

BLUEFIELD — West Virginia State Police officials are investigating a former church youth teacher and mentor for at-risk youth as a result of sexual abuse and sexual assault allegations.

Sgt. M.D. Clemons, with the Crimes Against Children Unit of the West Virginia State Police, said the individual under investigation was a youth teacher at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Bluefield for many years, and that her investigation has found allegations of abuse that date back to 1986.

“He helped with the youth program,” she said. “He also led mission trips.”

Clemons said she has currently interviewed 12 individuals who have reported misconduct that includes sexual abuse and sexual assault. The victims were preteen and teenage boys.

“Nothing that I have now indicates there was any abuse at the church, however some occurred on mission trips and at the individual’s home,” she said.

Clemons said church officials have cooperated with the investigation. “The church actually brought it to my attention.”

The individual under investigation also served as a WE CAN (Working to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect) volunteer during the 1990s, Clemons said.

Clemons said she is seeking other individuals who may have an incident to report. Anyone who would like to report abuse or misconduct can contact Clemons at Child Protect of Mercer County at 304-425-2710.

— Contact Perry at sperry@bdtonline.com

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