The Erie County Sheriff’s Office arrested Kenneth N. Rose, 55, of 46 N. Pleasant St., on Thursday and booked him into the jail.
Rose was charged with two counts of gross sexual imposition in connection with incidents on Feb. 25 and March 18. If convicted, he faces nine months to three years in prison on each of the third-degree felonies.
A 10-year-old Margaretta Township girl told her parents that when she and Rose were alone in the basement of Milan Friends Church on two occasions he reportedly made “inappropriate sexual contact” with her, Chief Deputy Jared Oliver said.
“We’re not sure if this is the first time this behavior occurred or if there are more victims,” he added.
Rose worked at the East Mason Road church as the volunteer youth director, but there were no prior reports involving disciplinary action against him, Detective Dennis Papineau said.
“There is no prior criminal history reported on him,” the detective added. “He was placed on leave.”
Pastor Paul Campbell, the senior pastor, said he has worked at Milan Friends Church for just short of two years and Rose “was here when I came.”
“We asked him to leave the church — as soon as it happened,” the pastor added.
While Campbell said sex crimes at churches often “are swept under the rug,” he said he “wasn’t going to do it” and called the sheriff’s office to “make them aware of the church’s position.”
“I wanted it fully known,” the pastor said. “We are cooperating fully with the investigation.”
For about the last six months, Rose worked mostly with children, not teenagers, he explained.
“He wasn’t the only one working with children. … It was a small children’s department,” said Campbell, who noted there was a system of “checks and balances” and this suspected case was unfortunate.
Papineau said the suspected spanking incidents happened when the girl’s parents were at the church, but in a different part of the building. The detective added the parents previously never reported having any issues with Rose.
Campbell, the senior pastor, said he wasn’t aware of any previous problems with Rose.
During an interview, Rose reportedly admitted to the sex crimes and “discussed some sexual fantasies with spanking,” the detective said. Papineau said there were no forced actions or the threat of force, but the alleged incidents likely started with a hug and Rose reportedly “walked her over” to him and had the girl sit in his lap.
“It made her feel uncomfortable,” Papineau added.
Based on the girl’s statement and what Rose reportedly said during his interview, the detective said there was probable cause for arresting him.
If anyone has information about this suspected crime, they are encouraged to call the Erie County Sheriff’s Office at 419-627-7553.