Church volunteer accused of indecency with child

May 5, 2011 7:38:12 PM PDT
It's a place where children are supposed to be safe -- at church. But a volunteer at Lakewood Church is accused of molesting an eight-year-old autistic boy. Although the alleged attack happened about 15 months ago, the prosecutor doesn't know why it took more than a year to bring charges in the case. But there is now a warrant for the arrest of the former volunteer, who is accused of indecency with an autistic child who couldn't speak for himself.

Alvaro Daniel Guzman, 25, had no criminal record, but did have a desire to volunteer at Lakewood Church. He was placed in what's called the Champions Club for special needs children.

On February 13, 2010, according to the charge against him, he was in a play room for children when another volunteer, one of three chaperones in the room, claims she saw Guzman acting inappropriately.

Prosecutor Tina Ansari said, "This witness observed the defendant picking up an eight-year-old boy and touching him on his genital area."

The probable cause document says the volunteer witnessed it twice in a matter of minutes and informed a supervisor. Guzman was dismissed and CPS was notified.

The document also says Guzman denied the allegations and took a police polygraph test that was inconclusive. When asked to take it again, it states Guzman said he was leaving.

A Lakewood spokesperson believes this is the first case of its kind at the church, one of the few that offers programs for autistic children.

The church issued the following statement:

    "Every person who works with children at Lakewood Church undergoes a thorough criminal background check. Mr. Guzman's criminal background check indicated no criminal history. At the time of the alleged incident, Mr. Guzman was immediately removed from interacting with children and CPS was notified. Lakewood will continue cooperating with local authorities on this case."
    -- Donald Iloff, Jr., Lakewood Church spokesperson

The church adds that the only thing revealed in the background check on Guzman was parking tickets. We're also told the child continues in the Champions Club program at Lakewood, where his parents continue to volunteer.


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