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Church responds to sex assault charges
A U.S. man charged with child sex offences in Abbotsford volunteered with a Washington State church, but an official there said the man was not part of any children’s ministries.
Abbotsford Police announced the charges against Todd Ronald Hildebrand, 40, on Oct. 11 involving offences that allegedly occurred 10 years ago involving a 13-year-old youth.
The Abbotsford News has learned that Hildebrand was connected with the Abundant Life Church in Bellingham, Wash. Pastor Jonathan Hanson said Hildebrand began attending the church seven years ago and has been actively involved working in the coffee shop and with the music band.
“Todd has never been part of any of the children’s ministries or youth ministries, nor has Todd ever been along with any youth or children in our church,” Hanson said in a written statement to The News.
He said the church is helping Hildebrand’s family “walk through all of the challenges that they are facing with these charges.”
“We have never observed or known Todd’s character to be anything but honourable, trustworthy, faithful, and he is well respected by our church members,” Hanson added.
Hildebrand was charged with two counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual interference, and two counts of invitation to sexual touching.
He is a permanent resident of the United States, but is a Canadian citizen who often visited Abbotsford, police said, expressing concerns that there could be other victims and urged anyone with information to come forward.
Hildebrand was released from custody and must follow court-ordered conditions that include not attending any area where children are expected to be present such as parks, school grounds, recreation centres, swimming pools and playgrounds.