A 32-year-old former church youth leader was arrested Wednesday on two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a 15-year-old member of the church, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Heather Matuszek of Dunedin was booked into the county jail, then freed later that night after posting $40,000 bail.
The incidents took place between August 2014 and April 2015, according to the Sheriff’s Office, when the victim was 15 and Matuszek was her 28-year-old youth leader at Clearwater Community Church.
The victim told deputies that Matuszek spent the night in her bed twice and each time touched her inappropriately.
The Sheriff’s Office did not release the name of the victim. She is 19 now, and reported the allegations on March 25. Matuszek no longer attends the church, deputies said.
Detectives interviewed Matuszek Wednesday and said she admitted to the allegations. She currently operates a Chick-fil-A franchise at Westfield Countryside mall, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Clearwater Community Church Pastor Josh Kee sent this statement to the Tampa Bay Times on Friday:
“We are greatly concerned for the victim and her family and the impact this has had on them and our church community. We are committed to ensuring that the children and youth who participate in our ministries are protected and nurtured. Our priority at this time is to support and care for the victim and her family and we will do all that is necessary to support any resulting investigation.”
The victim alleged that more incidents took place outside of Pinellas County. Those will be investigated by other law enforcement agencies. The investigation is continuing, and the Sheriff’s Office believes there may be more victims.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the sheriff’s Crimes Against Children Unit at (727) 582-6006.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with a statement from the church.
Contact Kavitha Surana at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727-893-8149. Follow @Ksurana6