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Church, business named in lawsuit alleging ongoing sexual abuse of teen

Posted at 6:16 PM, May 14, 2019

Disturbing allegations are being brought against a Nipomo church and a Guadalupe business.

They’re part of a new civil lawsuit which claims they played a role in a minor being repeatedly sexually assaulted for several years.

Jacob Roldan, who was living in Orcutt at the time of the abuse, is currently serving time in Santa Barbara County Jail after pleading guilty to several charges including lewd acts against a minor and sexual battery. This new lawsuit, however, says other facets of the community not only played a role in allowing the abuse to happen, but in allowing it to continue for years.

Attorneys Don Ernst and Nigel Whitehead say they’re going to put every resource they have into a new lawsuit involving several defendants that include Roldan, the House of Prayer Church in Nipomo and Apio Inc. in Guadalupe.

Jacob Roldan


“It’s about the destruction of this young man’s youth. It’s an abuse of power. It’s an abuse and betrayal of the most intimate type of privilege we have. This was systematic abuse by this music minister, who then worked at Apio, who then hired him and while this young man was at work, as a minor child, was called into his office and sexually assaulted,” Ernst explained.

The abuse lasted from when the child was 14 until he was nearly 18.

In the complaint filed May 10, attorneys say both the House of Prayer Church and Apio could have done more to prevent the abuse from happening.

“If proper training and supervision had been in place, much of this wouldn’t have happened. We would love to see some changes both locally to the entities involved but if this could be a broader message – which is one thing this young man really wants to see happen – changes to prevent others from going through what he’s gone through,” Whitehead said.

Attorneys say this case is an example of abuse of power.

“We are seeking justice but by holding others accountable, it helps a victim like this young man deal with it – essentially (saying) – it wasn’t your fault,” Whitehead said.

The House of Prayer Church tells KSBY they decline to comment until they are served the paperwork.

Apio did not return our messages.

The attorneys in the case say they did not set a dollar amount in damages because they are hoping a jury will decide a proper amount for their client’s “suffering.”

Jacob Roldan is currently serving a one year sentence in the Santa Barbara County Jail. Once he gets out, he will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.