Lake Worth church volunteer charged with sexual assault

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on January 4, 2013 at 7:35 PM

LAKE WORTH -- A Lake Worth congregation is in shock after a church member who volunteered in the daycare was arrested and charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.

Lake Worth police arrested 19-year-old Ryan Welborn Thursday. He's accused of the sexual assault of a child younger than six years old, under his care at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Lake Worth.

"Obviously we feel horrible about it,” said Pastor James Turner. “It's just heartbreaking. It's just one of those things that just sucks the breath out of you when you hear about it."

Turner said the incident happened during church services last October. The alleged victim was a member of a family visiting the church. Welborn had been a volunteer, working in the children's church ministry for about a year.

Pastor Turner said Welborn and his family are long-time, well-loved members of the church and there were no indications that he was a threat to children. Welborn apparently had no prior convictions. Turner said Welborn was removed from the church and reported to police as soon as the allegation was made.

"Whatever the police wanted, we did,” Turner said. “In fact, from the beginning they had asked us not to say anything to anybody, so obviously we tried to do exactly what they told us to do."

Surveillance cameras have now been installed in every room where children are cared for and background checks are now made on all volunteers.

Police say the investigation continues but according to Pastor Turner, he has no reason to believe anyone else at his church had been molested.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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