Wingham youth ministry director facing sex charges in case involving teenager

Huron County OPP say a youth ministry director from Wingham is facing several charges in connection with a sexual assault investigation.

Police say the charges follow a “recent investigation” and “stem from incidents that have taken place this year against a teenaged victim.”

OPP say Simon Chiarello, 29, faces seven counts each of sexual assault and sexual exploitation. Police say he was arrested on Thursday, Sept. 10 and remains in custody.

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According to OPP, the suspect works as a youth ministry director for a church and is also a youth director for a faith-based youth program, both in Wingham.

While police did not name the church or youth program, Maitland River Community Church and Youth Unlimited YFC North Huron both previously listed a Simon Chiarello on their websites.

A view of the church’s Our Leaders page that was cached on Sept. 11, 2020, included an image of Chiarello listed as a youth ministry director. That page no longer includes any reference to Chiarello.

A view of a YFC North Huron donation page for Simon Chiarello cached on Sept. 5, 2020, that has since been removed entirely had said that he started working for SWOYFC in 2016 at the upper deck youth centre in Wingham and that part of his role involved raising funds for his work within the community.

Maitland River Community Church confirmed to Global News that Chiarello used to work with the church “but that’s no longer the case.” Global News has reached out to YFC North Huron but had yet to receive a response by publication time.

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Anyone with additional information in the case is asked to immediately contact Huron OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or 519-482-1677 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

“Victims of sexual assault are not alone,” police add.

“If you or someone you know is in need of support, there are local resources available to help. One such resource is Victim Services of Huron County they can be reached at 519-600-4108.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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