Former pastor accused of molesting girl while working as volunteer camp counselor

LEBANON COUNTY — A 38-year-old Dillsburg man has been charged with indecent assault after police say he had indecent contact with a three-year-old girl while working as a volunteer camp counselor.

Benjamin Leese is accused of making contact with the girl while she was a guest at Camp Kirchenwald in South Londonderry Township between July 9 and July 11, 2018.

He was a former pastor at of the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

According to the Lebanon County Detective Bureau, Leese was also a friend of the victim’s family and was familiar to her. The victim’s parents later told police they noticed a change in the victim’s behavior on the second day of camp on July 9. She refused to look at Leese and kept saying she wanted to go home, which was unusual because Leese’s friendship with the family, her parents said.

When the victim’s mother asked her about it later in the day, the victim allegedly said “it’s a secret.”

The victim told her mother what happened on July 25, police say. She told her mother Leese touched her private parts and saw her naked, according to the criminal complaint. The victim reported that she told Leese “no thank you,” and that his actions hurt her feelings.

The victim was interviewed by police on August 8, and told police Leese had touched her breasts and genitals while she was naked with him in a lodge.

Below is the Lower Susquehanna Synod’s statement on the charges against Leese:

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