Former church volunteer charged after 'multiple minors' came forward

A former volunteer in The River Church's children's department is facing charges less than a year after the conviction of a former youth pastor at the same church.

David Shagena was arraigned Dec. 24 on charges of children-accosting for immoral purposes, children-distributing obscene matters, fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct - victim 13 through 15, and children contributing to delinquency, according to court records.

"He was arraigned on Christmas Eve, where a $10,000 bond was set and has since been posted," the St. Clair County Sheriff Department said in a statement. "Shagena was a youth leader at The River Church when multiple minors came forward reporting inappropriate actions by Shagena."

The investigation was launched after Shagena’s name was brought up during an investigation into The River’s former youth pastor, William Stefan Wahl, according to the sheriff department.

Shagena has a preliminary exam set for Jan. 10 in front of District Court Judge Mona Armstrong.

"We look forward to making our case in court ... this case is not what it is being made out to be," said Shagena's lawyer, Nicole Blank Becker of Blank Law PC in Troy.

She said she would not comment further at this time.

"Mr. Shagena was never on staff nor did he serve in a leadership capacity in our church at any time," Bill Wahl, the church's lead pastor, said in an email. "He was an attender and served in a volunteer capacity only. With any volunteers within our church who volunteer in our children’s departments, a background check is completed prior to approval to serve. It is important to note, Mr. Shagena has not attended The River Church since early 2019.

"As a staff and leadership team, we have fully cooperated with any investigation conducted by law enforcement and at this time we have no further comment."

The church has offices in Fort Gratiot, while Sunday services are held in Kimball Township, according to its website.

Judge Michael West sentenced William Stefan Wahl in August to a minimum of six years and four months and a maximum of 15 years in prison.

A jury found Wahl guilty of two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct victim younger than 13, two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct victim between 13 and 16, distributing obscene matter to children, aggravated indecent exposure and using computers to commit a crime.

Contact Liz Shepard at

This article originally appeared on Port Huron Times Herald: Former River Church volunteer charged after minors came forward