A man who volunteered at a Charleston church's Vacation Bible School has been accused of sexually abusing a child at the school. 50-year-old Rhett Aaron Bowen is charged with first-degree sexual abuse.
Police have accused Bowne of engaging in sexual contact with an underage boy while working as a volunteer for the Vacation Bible School. It is not clear when this alleged abuse is believed to have taken place.
According to the Charleston Police Department, more victims have contacted the department to report that they were also sexually abused by Bowen. According to a press release, Bowen is suspected of frequenting locations in Kanawha City where children often congregate.
Anyone with information related to this case has been asked to contact the Charleston Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at 304-348-6480.
Attorney contributor Paul Bucci represents victims of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits, with a specialization in cases involving sexual predators in positions of trust. Paul has offered to share some of his thoughts on the legal rights of those who have been sexually abused by church clergy members and volunteers:
Sexual predators are often found working and volunteering from positions of trust with children - including as volunteers and clergy members in religious organizations. Sadly, there are many religious organizations in the United States facing widespread allegations of child sexual abuse.
When a church volunteer or employee is arrested on sexual abuse charges, there are many troubling concerns to address. The accused must be investigated by the authorities, an investigation must take place to determine if there are other victims, and the religious organization should also be looked at for possible negligence.
In cases where church negligence allowed a child to be sexually abused, the church may be held liable if the victim and their family decide to file a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual abuse by a church clergy member, you can learn more about your legal rights by speaking with one of our experienced sex abuse victims lawyers in a free consultation.