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Santa Rosa church youth group leader suspected of sexual assault

A Santa Rosa man who volunteered as church youth group leader is suspected of sexually assaulting a juvenile parishioner over the course of several years and was being held Tuesday at the Sonoma County Jail on $3 million bail.

Drue Mordecai, 55, of Santa Rosa was arrested Thursday after Santa Rosa Police Department investigators determined Mordecai sexually abused a minor for about four to five years beginning when the victim was 12 years old, the agency said in a news release.

The suspected sex abuse began in 2015, said Sgt. Chris Mahurin, the department’s spokesman.

Both Mordecai and the juvenile he is suspected of assaulting attended the New Vintage Church in Santa Rosa, where Mordecai was one of six volunteers who worked with high school students, the department said.

The initial investigation revealed no evidence that the sexual abuse took place at the church, according to police.

Mordecai faced more than two dozen child sexual assault charges as of Tuesday afternoon, ranging from lewd acts with a child under the age of 14 to sexual penetration with someone under the age of 16, online Sonoma County Superior Court records showed.

The department asked anyone with information about the sexual assault, or who may have been a victim of Mordecai, to contact the department through their online tip line.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or nashelly.chavez@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @nashellytweets.

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