Volunteer sexually assaulted boy, 3, at NewSpring Church in North Charleston

Jacop Hazlett (Dorchester County Detention Center).jpg
Jacop Hazlett (Dorchester County Detention Center)

A volunteer at a North Charleston church is in jail, accused of sexually assaulting a little boy.

The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office has arrested Jacop Hazlett, 28, on a charge of first degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Sheriff’s office investigators say Hazlett on Sunday, Nov. 25, was serving as a chaperone for a group of children, ages 3-5, at NewSpring Church in North Charleston.

Deputies say surveillance video shows Hazlett escorting a 3-year-old boy from the classroom into a bathroom, and helping the child use the toilet.

After cleaning the boy up, deputies say Hazlett looked around, then performed oral sex on the child as the boy sat on the toilet.

A NewSpring representative says the church was made aware of the incident the following day, Monday, Nov. 26.

Church staff immediately alerted law enforcement and took steps to keep Hazlett off church property once confirming the incident through surveillance recordings, according to NewSpring spokesperson Suzanne Swift.

The church has cameras installed in all its children's rooms as a standard safety and security policy, Swift says.

The camera in the bathroom was able to record what happened between Hazlett and the child because the door to the bathroom stall was left open during the encounter, church officials explained.

Hazlett passed a criminal and sex offender background check before being allowed to volunteer at the North Charleston campus, per Swift.

All NewSpring volunteers who work with children are subjected to such background checks before being approved as volunteers, Swift says.

Hazlett began volunteering at the church in March 2018, per Swift.

Investigators are working with church officials to determine if there are any additional victims, North Charleston Police spokesman Spencer Pryor said.

Hazlett remains in sheriff’s office custody. A judge denied bond for him at a hearing Wednesday afternoon.

Hazlett's next court date in January 14, 2019.

(WCIV-TV's Erica Lunsford contributed information to this report).