Sheriff's Office contacts federal authorities over TFC allegations

·2 min read

Jul. 22—LIMA — The Allen County Sheriff's Office on Friday confirmed that it has contacted federal law enforcement regarding allegations of sexual abuse made against several individuals affiliated with the Lima Teens for Christ ministry.

The abuse allegations were detailed in social media posts and an anonymous letter published online, although Sheriff Matthew Treglia said in a letter Friday the allegations were also likely presented to groups and boards affiliated with TFC in recent weeks.

Allegations described in the letter appear to have occurred in multiple states, raising questions over which law enforcement agency would claim jurisdiction.

The Allen County Sheriff's Office has not yet received a formal criminal complaint either, which prompted Treglia to notify federal authorities this week.

The sheriff's office is asking for the public's help contacting possible victims, as well.

"If you have any information related to this case, please contact our office," Treglia said. "Even if you have spoken to another law enforcement agency or any other organization, we are asking that you still contact our office."

He added: "We would like to make it abundantly clear that no criminal complaint will be ignored regardless of who the suspect or victim is. Every complaint will be investigated to our greatest ability."

Anyone with information may call the Allen County Sheriff's Office Detective Bureau at 419-993-1413; 419-993-1425 or 419-227-3535.

The Teens for Christ board of directors on Friday said it is investigating "grievous allegations" made against current and former TFC staff members and volunteers, who have been placed on administrative leave until the investigation is complete, according to a letter the board sent to donors and supporters.

The board wrote that it intends to "thoroughly investigate" the allegations and may seek outside assistance if necessary, noting that "all staff involved have been placed on administrative leave until the investigation is complete."

The board is also reviewing its policies and procedures to determine whether any violations occurred and whether those policies need to be changed, according to the letter.

"We intend to communicate our findings and additional actions that will take place," the board wrote.

The letter did not specify which TFC staff members or volunteers have been placed on administrative leave, nor did it say who was being investigated.

The organization is already facing fallout from donors.

In a public Facebook post on Friday, Tom Ahl said the used car dealership has halted its monthly donations to TFC "until authorities and the board get to the bottom of all of this."

"Our prayers are with those who are victims," Ahl wrote. "This certainly makes me sick and the pain caused is inexcusable for those that have been hurt."

The Lima News reached out to Teens for Christ for comment. A staff member for the organization declined to offer any additional comment beyond what was stated in the board's letter.

Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.