CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Seven victims of Jacop Hazlett and their families filed a lawsuit against Jacop Hazlett and NewSpring Church, according to new court records obtained by News 2.
The suit was filed by The Law Offices of Joshua E. Slavin and Andreozzi & Associates Tuesday.
In a statement to News 2, Slavin explained that an initial lawsuit filed in November was withdrawn after an investigation revealed the scope of abuse was larger than originally thought.
Jacop Hazlett, 28, is facing five charges of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. According to the lawsuit he has a checkered past dealing with young children while serving in a variety of volunteer positions within churches in North and South Carolina. He began volunteering at NewSpring Church in March 2018. The lawsuit alleges the church failed to adequately investigate his background before allowing him to volunteer with young children.
He was arrested in November of 2018 after he was caught on camera sexually abusing a 3-year-old in the bathroom of New Spring Church. The lawsuit alleges the church’s security team wasn’t properly trained to monitor the dozens of cameras in the church. A review of 90 days of footage revealed 14 instances of abuse, according to Slavin.
According to court documents, Hazlett confessed to taking sexually explicit pictures and videos in the child care area of the North Charleston church.
Police say they found images of at least five victims on his cell phone.
“Now, seven brave families have agreed to fight for justice on behalf of their young sons, bring consequences for those responsible, and help prevent a tragedy like this from happening in the future,” Slavin wrote.
Hazlett is current incarcerated at the Dorchester County Detention Center.