A youth leader at a Barrington church has been charged with sexually assaulting a student he used to mentor, authorities said Sunday.
Samuel Bangs, 23, of Bellmawr, was arrested Saturday afternoon and accused of having sexual contact with a male under 16, police said. The alleged assaults occurred over the last two months, including at public parks, according to a release from the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, the county park police, and Barrington police.
Bangs met the youth while volunteering as a mentor at Grace Bible Church, police said. He was no longer working with the young man when he allegedly assaulted him, police said.
A phone call to Bangs' home was not returned on Sunday.
According to church policy, Bangs has been removed from all church roles and responsibilities, including his part-time job setting up for events, said Bryan Harkins, chairman of the board of elders of the 75-year-old nondenominational church. He is also prohibited from having any contact with youths associated with the church until the matter is resolved, Harkins said.
Harkins said he informed the congregation of the charges against Bangs at Sunday's service. He said he told members that the investigation was ongoing and that church officials could not answer specific questions.
"The leadership has cooperated fully with the authorities throughout their investigation," Harkins said in an interview.
He declined to say when the church leadership was notified of the allegations. The accuser reported the incidents to police on Friday, police said.
Harkins said Bangs had been a church member for a "number of years" and a youth mentor for "a few years."
Bangs isn't part of a formal mentoring group, but he volunteered with the youth ministry, Harkins said. He was put through a background check along with anyone who works with minors in the church, Harkins said, declining to comment further.
Bangs was also charged with endangering the welfare of a minor and two counts of criminal sexual contact.
Authorities said they were not aware of any other alleged victims, but their investigation continues. Anyone with information on inappropriate interactions between Bangs and juveniles is urged to call Anthony Roccia, an investigator with the Prosecutor's Office, at 856-225-8400.