Crime & Courts

Megachurch volunteer accused of sexually assaulting toddlers has history of abuse, records show

Jacop Hazlett
Jacop Hazlett Dorchester County Detention Center

The same day more charges were filed against the volunteer at a South Carolina megachurch , it was announced he has a history of abuse.

On Tuesday, North Charleston Police announced five new charges of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor had been filed against Jacop Hazlett, WCSC reported.

It was also announced that court records show the now 28-year-old “inappropriately touched a young Ohio boy in 2007,” according to WCIV.

Hazlett volunteered at the North Charleston campus of NewSpring Church and was previously charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 11 years old on Nov. 28, The State reported.

On Dec. 3, it was announced that Hazlett faced seven additional charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, and an additional count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, WHNS reported.

Hazlett and NewSpring are also being sued, and that lawsuit states Hazlett molested at least 14 toddlers while volunteering at the megachurch’s daycare.

The lawsuit states, “NewSpring Church reviewed its security camera footage going back ninety days and found fourteen separate incidents where Jacop Hazlett sexually abused boys in the three-to-four-year-old day care room bathroom,” The State reported.

The lawsuit was filed a day after Hazlett was arrested after being caught by surveillance cameras sexually abusing a 3-year-old boy inside the church, The State reported.

When he was 17, Hazlett “kissed and touched” a boy younger than 13 “between his legs,” and was charged as a juvenile delinquent with gross sexual imposition and served 21 days in jail, according to WCIV.

According to a church spokesperson, Hazlett was given a criminal background check and passed, per WNCN.

Miracle Balsitis and Amanda Johnson talk about why it was important to remove a photo of their father, Lane Hurley, from a wall at Matthews United Methodist Church. Hurley was convicted of sexually abusing his niece.



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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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