CRIME

James West, church youth group volunteer, charged with sex crimes against minor

Comment
Decrease Increase Text size

King's Chapel Church in Clifton is a place of worship, prayer, and trust.

But for some in this quiet Fairfax County suburb, that trust is being tested this weekend.

"I was very sad," says Chi Wai, who lives in Fairfax. "I have two kids myself, and you have to be vigilent. Sometimes these things escape you."

On Friday morning, police arrested 23-year old James West, a King's Chapel Youth Volunteer.

He's accused of sexually abusing a 14-year old church member.

"(The victim's) parents did determine, they felt something inappropriate had occurred between this church volunteer and their child," says Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell.

The youngster's parents called police August 3rd, after the teen allegedly told them that West had offered or given massages to several other young people.

"These things are horrible," Wei says. "But it seems we're hearing more and more about it these days."

But that's not all.

Detectives believe West transported the 14-year old to a nearby house, where he was living at the time, and sexually abused him there.

"Children don't always have a voice, and are easy targets," say Peggy Brkic, a teacher on leave, who's worked with sex abuse victims.

"I think every organization, whether it's religiously affiliated or not, needs to properly check people who are working, especially with minors."

Police say West was not a paid church staffer, but had been a youth volunteer for several years.

Investigators are trying to find out if there are other victims.

In Clifton, there is much anger.

West, held in the Fairfax County jail, faces two counts of aggravated sexual battery.

The church pastor says on the advice of attorneys, he cannot comment.

He says the case will be discussed with church members Sunday morning.

 

Would you like to contribute to this story? Join the discussion.

Recommended For You
comments powered by Disqus