When Ruven a.k.a. Ruben Muelenberg was arrested in May 2018 on child molestation charges, Saddleback Church, whose senior pastor is Rick Warren, downplayed Muelenberg’s role at the church. As it turns out, he was not just a mentor to troubled youth, he was on staff at Warren’s church. On August 22 the jury found Muelenberg guilty of the charges against him. The Orange County Register has the details:
A Saddleback Church youth mentor was convicted Wednesday of molesting twin teenage boys on two occasions when they were 13 and 14 years old.
Ruven Meulenberg, 33, of Lake Forest, was convicted of two counts of lewd acts with a minor younger than 14 and three counts of lewd acts on a child 14 or 15.
Deputy District Attorney Courtney Thom told jurors in her opening statement that the defendant encouraged one of the twins to sit on his lap when they went to see a movie with Meulenberg and his brother. Meulenberg kissed the 14-year-old boy on the head and cheek before kissing him on the mouth, the prosecutor said.
“This occurred in isolation in the back row of a darkened movie theater,” Thom said. “This is not saying hello or goodbye. This is the defendant manipulating his position of trust and confusing these young boys to see how far he could go.”