Church volunteer suspected of voyeurism

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by TRICIA MANNING-SMITH / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 19, 2010 at 11:33 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 19 at 11:33 PM

EDMONDS, Wash. - A church volunteer is under investigation for voyeurism at one of the north end's largest churches.

A person attending Westgate Chapel claims a volunteer had been taking potentially compromising photos.

"They were very distraught. Their hearts were broken and they believed that they had seen something," said Pastor Cindi Bowen.

Police will only confirm they're actively investigating voyeurism.

"At this point in the investigation, we have no indication that a sexual assault occurred. At this point it's just acts of voyeurism, viewing," said Sgt. Don Anderson.

According to church leadership, the 54-year-old suspect had volunteered at the Westgate Chapel for more than eight years. He helped out in a number of different roles, including children's ministry.

Additionally, the suspect is listed as a faculty member at northwest university.

Westgate chapel says they confronted the suspect, and then turned the case over to police.

"We don't know the exact number of victims. They range in ages from juveniles to adults," said Anderson.

The suspect is no longer attending Westgate Chapel, where the congregation is now focusing on healing.

"We are just brokenhearted as a congregation. So our response is to be brokenhearted and to minister grace and peace and prayer," said bowen.

The church says this suspect passed a background check before he began volunteering.

KING 5 News is not naming the suspect because he has not been arrested and is not formally charged.

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