Crime & Courts

Davidson cops investigating former SC church volunteer accused of child sex assaults

Volunteer accused of sex acts with kids at SC church now under investigation in NC

A former volunteer at a church in North Charleston, South Carolina, accused of sex acts with multiple children is now under investigation in Davidson, North Carolina.
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A former volunteer at a church in North Charleston, South Carolina, accused of sex acts with multiple children is now under investigation in Davidson, North Carolina.

Davidson police confirmed Tuesday that they are investigating a former South Carolina church volunteer whom SC police charged with sexually assaulting 14 children at the North Charleston campus of Newspring Church.

The Davidson Police Department received a report Monday “of an allegation of an incident that might have occurred in our jurisdiction,” Davidson spokeswoman Cristina Shaul said in a reply email to The Charlotte Observer. “Because this is an ongoing investigation, that’s all we can release at this time.”

Davidson police learned about the local case involving suspect Jacop Steven Hazlett after staff at Davidson Elementary School contacted the department on Monday, according to a police incident report.

Jacop Hazlett.jpg
Davidson police confirmed Tuesday that they are investigating Jacop Hazlett, a former South Carolina church volunteer whom SC police charged with sexually assaulting 14 children at the North Charleston campus of NewSpring Church. A Davidson police incident report says police were called Monday to Davidson Elementary School by school staff after a 7-year-old boy reported being sexually assaulted at a house in 2017, The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier reported. Dorchester County, S.C., Sheriff's Office

A 7-year-old boy told police he’d been sexually assaulted at a house between Aug. 1, 2017, and Nov. 30, 2017, according to the report.

WCNC-TV first reported Hazlett’s past ties to the Lake Norman area, saying Hazlett volunteered from 2010 to 2014 at The Cove church in southern Iredell County from 2010 to 2014, quoting a church spokeswoman.

North Charleston police charged 28-year-old Hazlett in connection with alleged sexual assaults against 14 children over about three months, The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier reported. Children were assaulted at the church between September and late November, according to WCIV.

“We have many policies in place that have provided safe environments for children the last 19 years,” Newspring Church said in a statement to its congregation, The Post and Courier reported. The events in (North Charleston), though, have shown us that it was possible for evil to find a way to breach our protection.”

Hazlett is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and seven counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, TV station WCIV reported.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak
Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.
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