DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A lawsuit has been filed just one day after a volunteer for a North Charleston church daycare was charged with sexually abusing a 3-year-old boy.
Jacop Hazlett, 28, has been arrested for 1st degree criminal sexual conduct of a minor. North Charleston Police say Sunday, November 25, while watching over a group of three to five year old during Sunday church service at New Spring Church, Hazlett escorted the victim into the bathroom, took pictures of a 3-year-old boy and sexually abused him. The alleged abuse all reportedly caught on surveillance video.
Hazlett volunteered as a daycare provider at New Spring Church. He began volunteering in March. A month before he started volunteering, a former youth pastor at NewSpring church was arrested and charged with soliciting sex with a minor and exploitation of a minor.
After being charged with sexually abusing a minor, a different family accusing him of sexually abusing their child as well filed a lawsuit against Hazlett and NewSpring church. Click here to read the lawsuit.
“We went to the church and we started asking questions,” Attorney Joshua Slavin, said.
Slavin is representing the mother and father of another alleged victim. Slavin says this family is accusing Hazlett of also sexually abusing their child, who is also three years old.
The lawsuit accuses Hazlett of sexually abusing 14 children in the last 90 days. Slavin says during his investigation, he spoke to the church and watched surveillance video, which is how he determined 14 other children may have been sexually abused.
“The evidence was there on their video cameras,” Slavin said. “They are monitored live as they are being recorded and it was under they nose and they just missed it, we don’t know how long this has been going on, there could be countless victims.”
Slalvin says he’s seeking justice for these families.
“We’ve got to do better, you had a chance to protect these children, the evidence was right under your nose, we have to do better,” he said.
Slavin says his clients noticed changes in their child’s behavior after the alleged abuse took place. According to Slavin, the child began screaming he or she did not want to go to church anymore, or day care.
Beverly Hutchinson with Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center says there are many clear signs of abuse someone can see in children.
“Maybe all of sudden they love playing a sport, now they don’t. When we see these changes, that doesn’t mean there’s been abuse but there should be a follow up conversation,” Hutchinson said. “If they’re gut says something is off we encourage parents to trust that gut feel.”
Currently, Hazlett is only charged with one count of criminal conduct with a minor, but more charges could be pending.
Slavin believes there are more victims, so he asks that if you know anything about the case, or know a victim, to contact him or his co-council. Also, do not hesitate to call the police or Dee Norton Child’s Advocacy Center to seek help.
The Law Offices of Joshua E. Slavin
Joshua E. Slavin, Esq.