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State police confirm sex abuse investigation involving Bluefield church volunteer

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BLUEFIELD -

A youth mentor at a Mercer County church is at the center an investigation by state police. 59News has learned about a dozen victims have come forward accusing a church youth mentor of sexual abuse. Officials said these allegations happened outside of the church. 59News Reporter Lauren Hensley tells us the details about the allegations.

A man once put in the position to uphold the Westminster Presbyterian Church youth vision statement of communion, community and commission is now being accused of being a sexual predator.

The West Virginia State Police have confirmed an investigation into a youth minister who volunteered at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, a Bluefield church.Though they are not releasing the man's name the community is shocked to learn about these allegations.

"I am feeling very horrible about these accusations. I am feeling shocked that could have happened," Jan Williams Jr. of Bluefield said.

According to officials about a dozen males have come forward stating this particular male volunteer sexual abused them. The first case dates back to 1986 and all of the reports state the victims were pre-teens or teens during the time of the alleged abuse.

59News did reach out to church officials and this is what they had to stay.

In a statement Pastor Jonathan Rockness with the Westminster Presbyterian Church said, "We have been fully cooperative with the authorities and will continue to be, as we are committed to uncovering the truth and seeing justice met.  We also hope and pray fro the healing and wholeness for a potential victims in this situation.  We are devastated for them and their families."

Those who live just blocks away from the church say they are very visible working in the community.

"This is a good church to go to.  They do a lot of the community and for a lot of the kids and older people," Williams Jr. said.

The investigation is ongoing into the alleged actions of this unnamed individual.   Community members fear just how many victims there could be. State Police are urging anyone with information to contact them.

The individual at the target of the investigation could be facing the following charges--- sexual abuse, sexual assault and sexual abuse by a custodian.