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Church Volunteer and Soccer Coach Arrested for Sexual Assault Posts Bond

Police have charged a church volunteer and soccer coach with sexual crimes against children. Friday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police (CMPD) arrested Benjamin Damron, 36, and charged him with nine counts of Taking Indecent Liberties with a Child and one count of Sexual Battery Against an Adult.

Authorities said they had identified three victims, all teenage boys, two of whom were under 15. Damron met his victims while volunteering as a church youth leader and coach, according to a news release by the CMPD. “He used his position to take advantage of the victims and sexually assault them,” the release said.

The assaults took place at local public parks and inside his home. Police suspect the crimes occurred during the last five years. Police say there are likely more victims.

According to CMPD, Damron volunteered with four local organizations: Elevation Church, Mercy Church, Southbrook Church, and Soccer Shots. Officials confirmed all four organizations are cooperating with authorities.

Elevation Church told WBTV that Damron has not been an active volunteer since 2019 and claimed the church did not know of any of the circumstances. “None of these instances are alleged to have happened in or around church-owned facilities,” Elevation leaders said. “We will continue to work with the authorities if they need anything further and continue to pray for the families.”

According to Elevation, Damron occasionally served as a drummer at a remote campus between 2014-2017 and was not affiliated with Elevation Worship. In addition, he allegedly served as a small group co-leader from 2015-2019 when he “left to attend another church.” The church said Damron had produced a background check with no red flags.

Mercy Church said it was untrue that Damron was part of Mercy Church leadership. A public statement on their website said that while working with CMPD, they discovered Damron was falsely posing as a youth worker. “We would like to clarify that Mr. Damron has never been involved in leadership or served in any capacity with Mercy Kids, Mercy Students, or any other ministry at Mercy Church and was never a member of Mercy Church,” the statement read.

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Southbrook Church also posted a public statement on its website saying Damron occasionally attended the church but was never a member, never served as a youth leader or volunteered.

Soccer Shots told WBTV, “…all coaches are required to complete background checks and clearances in accordance with North Carolina laws. Those clearances for the former coach in question were completed before coaching with us and raised no adverse findings, clearing him for employment.”

CMPD confirmed Damron did not have a criminal history before the allegations. Each organization encouraged cooperation with authorities.

Damron’s court hearing was on November 21, where he stated he had hired an attorney. Authorities released him after posting a $40,000 bond.

The investigation spans multiple law enforcement jurisdictions outside Charlotte, including Matthews and Union County. CMPD detectives are working on this case with the Matthews Police Department and the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

Jessica Eturralde

Jessica Eturralde is a military wife of 18 years and mother of three who serves as a freelance writer, TV host, and filmmaker. Bylines include Yahoo, Huffington Post, OC16TV.