Youth Leader Indicted on 89 Counts of Child Sex Abuse, SNAP Responds
A Delaware youth leader has been indicted on 89 charges related to child sex abuse. This is an extremely disturbing case that demands answers from church officials about how this man was able to secure his position and then abuse children for multiple years.
John C. Sapp Jr. was a youth leader at Maranatha Fellowship in Dover, Delaware, where he is accused of using his position to groom and then abuse at least two girls. This reportedly went on for years yet somehow remained under the radar of church officials, despite the fact that some incidents were said to have occurred on Fellowship premises. We are glad that Sapp has now been indicted and that the public is aware of the accusations, but we believe that further investigation by the church is warranted to make sure that this will not occur again. The community should want to know if proper vetting procedures are in place and followed. Also, the Fellowship should want to discover whether any signs of criminal behavior were missed or ignored by church leaders.
Marantha Fellowship officials should do outreach to all families who were involved with the church during Sapp’s time as youth leader, ensuring they are aware of the charges and encouraging others who may have been hurt or have information to come forward to police. They should also undertake a thorough review of their policies for those who work with youth, making sure that they are in keeping with best practices, and undertake any overhauls necessary so that future youth leaders are properly vetted before being given access to vulnerable children. Finally, the church should look at its leader training protocols so that officials are well aware of the signs of both grooming behaviors and abuse.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)