Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Youth leader arraigned

http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/apr/05/former-youth-pastor-faces-charges-of-molestation/
Former church youth leader faces charges of molestationHe allegedly touched teens inappropriately
.By Bob Albrecht
Columbian Staff Reporter

Originally published April 5, 2011 at 6:39 p.m., updated April 5, 2011 at 9:48 p.m.

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A former volunteer youth leader at a Vancouver church was arraigned Tuesday on allegations he sexually molested two teenage boys during private devotions.

Defense attorney Jon McMullen told the judge that Jason L. Wolk, 25, understood the charges and didn’t need them read aloud. Wolk pleaded not guilty to one count of second-degree child molestation and four counts of third-degree child molestation. The sexual abuses allegedly took place between June and December 2010.

Clark County Superior Court Judge Roger Bennett set trial for July 5.

A half-dozen members of the boys’ families sat near the back of the courtroom during the brief hearing. Two women who identified themselves as the mothers of the boys, ages 15 and 16, said they’re upset Wolk remains free to “walk the streets.”

The Columbian is not identifying the women to protect the teens’ identities.

“The two victims aren’t doing as well as I anticipated, especially my son,” said the older boy’s mother. “He’s on suicide watch.”

The other woman described the ordeal as “devastating.”

“I thought of him as a son,” she said of Wolk.

The former volunteer youth leader remains out of police custody. He is under a specialized set of supervised release conditions that, among other things, prohibit him from having any contact with minors and require him to remain employed.

McMullen said afterward he’s still working on obtaining police reports and reviewing evidence. He said after Wolk’s first appearance, there are “two sides to every story.”

The teens’ version is that Wolk, a volunteer at Vancouver Wesleyan Church, inappropriately touched them during private devotions designed to help with their “Christian life walk.”

At least one instance of abuse is alleged to have occurred on a camping trip in Klickitat County. Others were alleged to have taken place in Wolk’s home.

The 15-year-old told detectives he and Wolk read while lying on his bed with Wolk’s arm around the boy’s shoulders, according to court documents. On at least one occasion, the teen said that Wolk made him strip down to his boxers and lie in bed with him. On about five occasions, the boy told detectives, Wolk touched him inappropriately over his clothes.

A restraining order against Wolk was filed by the 16-year-old in December.

The case was investigated by the Children’s Justice Center in Clark County.

The two families continue to attend their church.

“We actually have a lot of support,” one of the mothers said.

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