SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — Police in Santa Rosa on Tuesday announced they were seeking additional possible victims after the arrest of a church volunteer accused of sexually abusing a juvenile for several years starting when the victim was only 12 years old.
Santa Rosa police issued a news release Tuesday stating that last week on January 27, the department’s Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Team began conducting a sexual assault investigation that involved a “small group leader” volunteer at Santa Rosa’s New Vintage Church and a 12-year-old victim.READ MORE: COVID Vaccines: 50% Of Eligible Adults Fully Vaccinated In Sonoma County
“Small groups are a key aspect of our church community,” according to information posted on the New Vintage Church website. “Most meet weekly in the home of a group member (usually the leader’s home). Some of our small groups meet at the church campus.”
The investigation, established probable cause that the suspect — identified as 55-year-old Santa Rosa resident Drue Mordecai — had sexually abused the juvenile victim for approximately four to five years starting when the victim was just 12 years old.
Police said the victim and the suspect were not related, but both regularly attend the church. Police said Mordecai was one of six volunteers who worked with high school students. Authorities said there was no evidence that any of the sexual abuse occurred on church grounds.READ MORE: Grandparents, Grandkids Share First Hugs Since Pandemic At Palo Alto Retirement Community
Mordecai was arrested on Thursday, January 28, and faces 12 felony sexual abuse charges related to the investigation. He has been booked into the Sonoma County Jail and is being held on $3,000,000 bail.
Police said that leadership at New Vintage Church had workied with the department since the investigation started and were helping to determine whether or not there were additional victims.
“As soon as we found out [about the allegations], we proactively began calling families to make sure children were safe,” Pastor Darren Youngstrom told police.
Police said that based on the suspect’s access to juveniles has led to authorities releasing Mordecai’s recent booking photograph. The department is reaching out to the public for assistance, asking that anyone who was victimized by Mordecai or might know someone who was a victim to contact police.MORE NEWS: Crews Respond to 15-Acre Vegetation Fire Burning in Discovery Bay
The investigation is ongoing and detectives are seeking anyone who may have information related to the case. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Santa Rosa police through the department’s anonymous tip line.