Police are investigating after church surveillance footage reveals a volunteer sexually abused children in the daycare bathroom.
According to ABC News 4, Jacop Hazlett, 28, remains in a South Carolina jail on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
On Sunday, Nov. 25, Hazlett was volunteering as a chaperone for children, ages 3-5, at Newspring Church in North Charleston. As ABC News 4 reports, during this time, Hazlett escorted a 3-year-old boy to the bathroom and helped him use the toilet. Officials say he proceeded to clean the minor’s genitals before looking around and performing oral sex on him. He pulled up the victim’s pants before they exited the restroom.
A nearby security camera captured the abuse. According to Suzanne Swift, Newspring spokesperson, the church was informed about the act the following day. After reviewing the footage, church staff immediately alerted police and Hazlett was apprehended.
A volunteer at @newspring in North Charleston is facing charges after performing oral sex on a child, according to an affidavit.
Jacop Robert Lee Hazlett is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.https://t.co/x4Os47RIiD
— Michal Higdon (@MichalHigdon) November 29, 2018
As CBS 17 reports, the family of the 3-year-old boy has filed a civil lawsuit against the church and Hazlett.
The lawsuit said that after further surveillance review, the church “found fourteen separate incidents where Jacop Hazlett sexually abused boys in the three-to-four-year-old daycare room bathroom.”
The file explains:
The security camera in the child day-care room … is positioned so that it captures footage of the entire room, including the children’s bathroom.
Hazlett’s acts could be seen because he had the bathroom stall door open.
Security camera footage was only available for the last 90 days. Hazlett had begun volunteering at the church in March of 2018.
“As a part of NewSpring’s child safety and security program, we perform criminal background checks, interview each potential volunteer candidate one-on-one, and provide detailed training for volunteers serving with children of all ages…”
According to CBS 17, the suspect had passed his background check upon hire.
Footage from Sept. 30 revealed Hazlett sexually abusing another victim for about three minutes in the same bathroom. He also took photos of the boy’s private area.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that majority of victims know their abuser.
The network states:
As many as 93 percent of victims under the age of 18 know the abuser.
The parents of Hazlett’s latest victim stated in the lawsuit filing that they noticed changes in their son’s behavior. They said he began throwing tantrums when he had to go to Newspring.
RAINN warns parents to be aware of these signs of sexual abuse.
Physical signs can include irritation or injury in the genital area, damaged underclothes, and difficulty walking or sitting.
Behavioral signs can include inappropriate sexual knowledge or conduct, shying away from physical contact, and running away from home or school.
As reported by CBS 17, the family’s attorney, sent out an email stating the purpose of the lawsuit and calling other victims’ families to come forward.
The email stated:
The purpose of the civil lawsuit is to expose the blatant oversights by NewSpring Church which allowed Hazlett to abuse countless innocent children. What makes this case so tragic is that the abuse was entirely preventable — these crimes were repeatedly committed in front of security cameras that were monitored by NewSpring Church…
The total number of children victimized by Hazlett may never be known. We strongly encourage all parents of children who were supervised by Hazlett to come forward and share whatever information they have to protect their children, ensure that all those responsible for allowing this to happen are held accountable, and help to prevent a tragedy like this from happening in the future.
A judge ordered Hazlett to be held without bond Wednesday morning. Newspring Church has yet to comment on the lawsuit.
If you or a loved one are in a similar situation call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.