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Was your child sexually abused by Ruven Meulenberg, a former volunteer youth mentor at Saddleback Church? Our experienced sexual abuse attorneys are here to help. Thanks to California’s powerful tradition of civil law, families affected by sexual abuse have many rights, including the ability to pursue a private civil lawsuit for financial compensation. Contact a California Catholic church sexual abuse attorney today to learn your legal options.
Ruven Meulenberg has been convicted of abusing his position of trust as a youth mentoring volunteer at Saddleback Church. Prosecutors say the 33-year-old, a resident of Lake Forest, molested two fraternal twins during a trip to a movie theater. According to testimony provided at Meulenberg’s trial, the youth volunteer took the twins to a movie theater with his brother, both of whom are immigrants from Holland.
At the theater, Meulenberg is said to have placed the boys between his legs and tried to kiss them on the mouth. “This occurred in isolation in the back row of a darkened movie theater,” said Deputy District Attorney Courtney Thom. “This is not saying hello or goodbye. This is the defendant manipulating his position of trust and confusing these young boys to see how far he could go.” Jurors agreed with Thom’s assessment. Meulenberg was convicted in 2018 on four felony counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 2019.
Was your child abused by Ruven Meulenberg? Your family may have the right to pursue a civil lawsuit. While Meulenberg has been held accountable for his misconduct in the criminal justice system, neither he nor Saddleback Church has been found liable in a civil action.
Our committed attorneys are here to help. If you or a loved one were sexually abused by Ruven Meulenberg, your family may have the option of pursuing justice by filing a private civil lawsuit. In a lawsuit, your family can seek accountability and financial compensation.
The Southern Baptist Church is in the midst of a true sexual abuse crisis. Thanks to a joint investigation led by the Houston Chronicle, we now know that sexual abuse is all too common in the Southern Baptist community. Over the past two decades, at least 220 Southern Baptist deacons, pastors, and volunteers have been convicted of sexual misconduct. At least three dozen of these men remain in active ministry, working in Southern Baptist churches.
At the same time, sexual abuse survivors and advocates have criticized the Southern Baptist Convention for ignoring the problem of sexual abuse for years. To this date, the SBC has never released a concrete policy on sexual abuse cases, leaving local churches to muddle through botched investigations, or worse, conceal sexual abuse allegations from the authorities.
Change, however, may be on the way. In a series of new sexual abuse lawsuits, survivors from across the country accuse the Southern Baptist Convention of negligence and wrongdoing, saying the organization for too long has neglected to address the sexual abuse of children. Many of these lawsuits name individual churches and sexual offenders as additional defendants.
Similar lawsuits may be on the horizon for Saddleback Church. Ruven Meulenberg’s conviction proves that Saddleback Church is not immune from a sexual abuse scandal of its own. Even now, allegations that the church failed to properly protect children from the youth mentoring volunteer are swirling. Civil lawsuits could be the next step.
We can help. Our experienced CA sex abuse lawyers have the resources and experience necessary to pursue your family’s case. If your child was harmed by Ruven Meulenberg, take action now. Don’t hesitate or wait; California’s civil statute of limitations could make legal action impossible in the future. Hold the responsible parties accountable. Stand up for change.
To learn more about your legal options, contact our dedicated legal team today for a free consultation. You can find more information about your family’s rights at no charge and no obligation. Just contact our attorneys today to learn more in a free, confidential consultation.