Saddleback Church Arrest | Ruben Meulenberg a.k.a. Ruven Meulenberg

Orange County District Attorney Releases Information about Ruven Meulenberg

The Orange County District Attorney released details about Ruven Meulenberg’s Saddleback Church arrest surrounding allegations that Meulenberg molested two boys that he mentored at the Saddleback Church Youth Center.  Details are as follows:

The defendant, Ruven Meulenberg, also known professionally as Ruben Meulenberg, was formally charged today with committing lewd acts on two junior high school boys.  The 32-year-old Lake Forest, CA resident, is charged with the following:

Youth Ministry Mentor Charged with Committing Lewd Acts on Two Junior High School Boys

Case #17HF070

  • Three felony counts of lewd acts on a child
  • Two felony counts of lewd acts on a child under 14-year-old
  • the above charges are given a Sentencing Enhancement for multiple victims

Continued arraignment

  • June 9, 2017, 10:00 a.m.
  • Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana
  • Bail: $1 million

Circumstances of the Case

  • At the time of the crime, Meulenberg is accused of being a volunteer youth mentor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest in a position of trust with access to children.
  • Between May 2016 and May 2017, Meulenberg is accused of committing lewd acts on 13-year-old boys John Doe 1 and John Doe 2, both on and off church property.
  • Between May 18, 2017, and May 22, 2017, the defendant is again accused of sexually molesting the victims, who were then 14 years old.
  • On May 24, 2017, a Saddleback Church representative reported suspected inappropriate conduct to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), who investigated this case.
  • Meulenberg was arrested by OCSD on Thursday, May 25, 2017.

Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Courtney Thom, Sexual Assault Unit

VIEW the original Orange County Sheriff’s Department press release here >>

Saddleback Church Youth Mentor Arrested on Child Molestation Charges
Ruben Meulenberg, 32, of Lake Forest, CA booking photo, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, 2017

Saddleback Church Releases Statement about Meulenberg Arrest

On Friday, May 26, Saddleback Church Released the following statement regarding the Saddleback Church Arrest:

We are shocked and grieved to share that this week a Saddleback member reported that a student ministry volunteer had acted inappropriately with two 14-year-old boys. Of course, our staff quickly reported this accusation to our Orange County Sherriff’s Department. The next day, the volunteer was arrested on suspicion of the offense. The investigation of the accusation is now in the hands of the proper authorities.

We ask you to do two things: first, please pray for the Saddleback families who are involved in this sad matter; second, please pray for the investigators as they determine the facts. As followers of Jesus, we always want the whole truth to come out because Jesus taught us that lies enslave us, but the truth sets us free.

As a part of Saddleback, you know that our church has been built on the service of thousands of volunteers who donate hundreds of thousands of hours of their time. Most of you know that for decades we’ve had extremely high requirements and strict procedures in place for anyone who volunteers in our student and children ministries.

To be considered for volunteering with kids or students, we require fingerprinting, professional background checks, and personal interviews. We also use services that report any illegal activity to us immediately. In this case, the accused volunteer had no record of arrest or criminal charges. Also, our church requires volunteers who work with students or children to complete an annual training regarding appropriate conduct. Our system of safeguards has safely served over 40,000 students and children for 38 years.

Please pray for everyone involved. We love you.

It is reported that Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren did not personally release a statement addressing the arrest.

READ MORE about similar cases involving Catholic School Teachers who were recently arrested for child molestation in Los Angeles County >>

Law Office of Anthony M. DeMarco

If you or someone you know was sexually abused or molested by Ruben Meulenberg, then you should call a child sexual abuse lawyer near Orange County as soon as possible.  Remember, that you can call a lawyer for advice at anytime.

We will keep this post updated with more details as the case develops.  We welcome you to explore the many resources that we have regarding Youth Group Accountability and sexual abusers.