Crime & Courts

SC megachurch volunteer arrested for sexually abusing little boy in church, cops say

Jacop Hazlett
Jacop Hazlett Dorchester County Detention Center

A volunteer at a South Carolina megachurch was arrested for sexually abusing a 3-year-old boy inside the church, WCSC reported Wednesday.

Surveillance cameras at NewSpring Church’s North Charleston campus showed Jacop Hazlett performing oral sex on the little boy on Nov. 25, according to abcnews4.com.

According to an affidavit, the 28-year-old North Charleston man was supervising a group of of children, between the ages of 3-5 years old, when he left the group to take the 3-year-old to the bathroom, per postandcourier.com

Authorities said Hazlett helped the boy use the toilet, before cleaning his genitals, WNCN reported. With the boy still seated on the toilet, Hazlett looked around before molesting the 3-year-old, the TV station added.

NewSpring officials reported the child abuse was captured on surveillance footage “because the door to the bathroom stall was left open during the encounter,” per WCSC. The church spokesperson said there are no cameras inside the bathrooms, according to postandcourier.com.

Church officials wrote a letter to parents of preschool students at NewSpring, telling them they learned about the abuse Monday and moved to “prevent Hazlett from volunteering in any capacity at our church in the future and, at the same time, we reported this information to law enforcement,” WCSC reported.

According to the church spokesperson, Hazlett was given “a criminal and sex offender background check” and passed, per WNCN.

He was arrested by the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office and taken to the detention center, where he remains behind bars after a judge denied him bond at a Wednesday hearing, according to abcnews4.com.

Hazlett was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 11 years old, and if convicted, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, postandcourier.com reported.

In the church’s letter to parents, it asked them to report any “inappropriate interactions” involving Hazlett to the North Charleston Police Department.

Former members of the Word of Faith Fellowship claim to the Associated Press that they were victims of years of abuse from the church.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.


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