ALBERT A. YOUNG was a wolf disguised as a sheep, lying in wait for an opportunity to use his role as a religious leader to perpetrate the sickest of crimes, authorities believe.

The 49-year-old self-styled "apostle" of Total Deliverance Ministries, at 22nd and Norris streets in North Philadelphia, was jailed late last week, accused of using his ministry not only to preach the Gospel but to perpetrate a sexual crime against his 15-year-old mentally challenged niece, police sources said.

Young was with his niece in the ministry office on the evening of Aug. 12 when he made her sit in his lap and began touching her sexually, putting his hands inside the girl's pants, fondling her buttocks and kissing her neck, according to a police affidavit obtained yesterday by the Daily News.

Young continued to touch the girl, at one point pressing and rubbing his clothed genitals against her and taking her hand to make her touch him, the document says.

When he was finished, the document says, the pastor warned the girl not to tell anybody about it.

But she did - launching an investigation into Young, who is referred to as an "apostle" on the bright, yellow sign posted outside his purple-stone corner church.

After a warrant was issued for Young, police arrested him Thursday at his rowhouse on Chew Avenue in Ogontz. He is charged with unlawful sexual contact with a minor, corruption of minors and indecent assault of a child.

Court records show that Young posted 10 percent of $50,000 bail on Friday.

No one answered the door yesterday at Young's rowhouse flanked by an unkempt front lawn bordered by a low, white fence. The doors to the ministry on Norris Street were locked, and phone numbers listed for the church - including the one emblazoned on its sign next to a cross - were not in service when a reporter called.

Young is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Nov. 19.