North Carolina

Megachurch volunteer accused of child sex abuse faces new charges, SC prosecutor says

Jacop Hazlett
Jacop Hazlett Dorchester County Detention Center

A man accused of molesting children in a South Carolina megachurch preschool program faces 10 new sexual abuse charges, court records show.

Police in North Charleston arrested Jacop Hazlett in November after he was allegedly caught on a security camera molesting a 3-year-old boy in a preschool classroom at NewSpring church, court filings show.

Investigators initially charged Hazlett with 14 counts related to sexually abusing minors at the church, according to the court index. A grand jury this week indicted the 28-year-old North Charleston man on 10 new counts related to the alleged abuse.

Investigators identified five new victims, Don Sorenson, a prosecutor with the 1st Circuit Solicitor’s Office, told WCSC. Sorenson told the station that police have found 15 victims who say Hazlett abused them.

The new indictments do not say if the alleged victims were abused at the church, according to WCIV. But the filings accuse Hazlett of 10 more counts of abuse or child exploitation that police say happened between Sept. 23 and Nov. 26, 2018, the station reports.

Hazlett was arrested Nov. 28, The State reported.

At least four lawsuits have been filed against the megachurch and Hazlett.

NewSpring has 14 church campuses around South Carolina, according to the church’s website. The lawsuit notes that the church collected more than $40 million in donations,” McClatchy newsgroup has previously reported.

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.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.
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