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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Leader John Sapp Jr. Charged with Sex Crimes

john c sapp jr

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

John C. Sapp Jr. a youth leader at Maranatha Fellowship in Dover, Delaware, stands accused of sexually abusing two teen girls under his care.

Delaware Online reports:

A 34-year-old Hartly man has been indicted on 89 charges he was involved in sexual relationships with two teenage girls who were members of a church youth group he’d been leading for the past three years. 

Word of the sexual liaison came to light when John C. Sapp Jr. contacted Maranatha Fellowship church’s lead pastor in February requesting to “immediately meet with him,” according to court documents. It was during this meeting, at Sapp’s house with his wife there, that the youth leader confessed to “inappropriately touching” a girl.

….

Delaware State Police investigators questioned the girl Sapp had mentioned.

The girl told investigators that she and Sapp began a “secret relationship” in October 2017, when she was 15, according to court records. 

The two would perform sexual acts, usually inside Sapp’s truck, but there were times the contact occurred at his house, church premises and even on a youth group camping trip, according to court records. 

….

The pastor told investigators that after the Feb. 13 meeting with Sapp, he became aware of an additional member of the youth group “who may have had similar relations” with Sapp.

….

When investigators spoke to the second girl, court records state she told officers she and Sapp started a “secret sexual relationship” when she was 16. That relationship went from January 2019 to January of this year.

Like the other relationship, court documents said Sapp and the girl had their encounters in the man’s truck, sometimes at his or her house and at times in the parking lot of Delaware Technical Community College’s Dover Campus. These encounters occurred at least twice a month. 

….

Sapp has been indicted on multiple charges, including continuous sexual abuse of a child, sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust, fourth-degree rape with a victim under the age of 18 and unlawful sexual contact.

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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