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According to local news source channel 9, authorities in Douglas County Colorado are looking for children who may have had contact with a former youth volunteer accused of having a sexual relationship with a child at his church.
Sheriff's deputies say William "Bill" McLaughlin, 45, was arrested in December 2009 and charged with multiple felony counts including sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.
"It is very tragic to hear about these types of cases, especially when it involves someone who is put in a position to care for and guide our youth. It is a great reminder for parents to talk to their children about issues involving these types of cases and how important open and honest communication is," Douglas County Sheriff Dave Weaver said in a news release.
Detectives believe McLaughlin, who was a youth volunteer at Denver Church of Christ, might have taken advantage of other children. During his time with Denver Church of Christ, which has satellite churches across Colorado and the country, McLaughlin had contact with hundreds of children and traveled extensively.
John Lusk, a senior minister with Denver Church of Christ says the church has about 600 adult members and its main church is in Arvada.
Lusk says McLaughlin volunteered with the church's youth from 1999 to 2006, but was "taken out" of the youth volunteer program four years ago. Lusk says he didn't know why McLaughlin was removed, but added McLaughlin has not been involved with the youth for four years.
According to Lusk, McLaughlin volunteered with teens from the church's high school group. His job was to attend activities and serve as a mentor. The idea, Lusk says, was "to be a spiritual guide to them."
"We typically do background checks," Lusk said. He was unsure whether a background check was done on McLaughlin.
During the ongoing investigation detectives have learned that McLaughlin lived in several locations within Douglas County, where some of the crimes took place, as well as multiple places in the Denver metro area.
McLaughlin declined to talk on-camera with 9NEWS.
McLaughlin's ex-wife, Cathy Jones, who does not live in Colorado, was in disbelief over the charges.
"I'm shocked. I don't believe it, can't believe it," Jones said. "I don't think it's true. He's a good man."
Jones and McLaughlin have been divorced since 1995.
In 2006, McLaughin was charged with a misdemeanor for sexual contact without consent, but in exchange for pleading guilty to harassment, the first charge was dismissed.
Pam Russell, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, says in the 2006 incident, a 14-year-old son of a friend told deputies McLaughlin was constantly around. One day, in the family's kitchen, deputies say McLaughlin tried to put ice down the boy's pants. The teen repeatedly told McLaughlin no, but deputies say he persisted and eventually did put the ice down the boy's pants.
Deputies say when McLaughlin put the ice down the boy's pants, he touched the 14-year-old's private parts. The incident was reported after the fact, and McLaughlin was charged with a misdemeanor.
The Denver Church of Christ issued the following statement after McLaughlin's recent arrest:
"The leadership of Denver Church of Christ was informed in late December by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office that a former youth volunteer of the church was arrested and charged with an offense against a young man. The Church leadership is very concerned by these allegations and the harm these actions bring to all involved. The Church leadership has been cooperating with the Sheriff's investigation since the initial arrest.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to this victim, his family, as well as all others concerned and affected by these events. As we wish to protect the privacy interests of the persons who have raised these concerns, we cannot comment any further on the case, or the investigation. We ask that all of those involved with these events and the investigation appreciate the seriousness of the claims and fully cooperate with the Sheriff's investigation."
Anyone with information about McLaughlin, additional victims or inappropriate conduct by McLaughlin should contact the Douglas County Sheriff's Office Investigations Division at 303-660-7548 or its tip line at 303-660-7579.