Maplewood church member charged with child molestation

James Xang Vang, 21, of St. Paul has been charged with first- and second-degree counts of criminal sexual contact for allegedly molesting a 6-year-old girl during a two-year period between June 2012 and his arrest on July 29.

Since his arrest, the criminal complaint said he has admitted to inappropriately touching more than 25 young girls at the Hmong Alliance Church in Maplewood, where he is a member. 

The report said Vang was at a male friend’s home on Geranium Avenue in St. Paul on July 29 when the friend’s sister and her daughter returned to the home.

“Immediately, my mind -- my mind just went towards the little girl, and then I just lost control of myself like I usually and always do,” he reportedly told police.

Vang allegedly followed the girl upstairs into a bedroom, where he told her to remove her clothes. He then reportedly took a photograph of her butt.

The girl’s mother told police that she confronted Vang after she saw the girl exit the room while she was pulling up her shorts and underwear, and then saw Vang walk out behind her.

“I have a demon inside that makes me do these things,” Vang told the victim’s mother, according to the complaint.

The victim’s mother yelled at Vang before spraying him in the face with pepper spray. He fled the home, and she called police. 

Officers arrested Vang a few hours later.

Vang reportedly said he started fondling girls at the Hmong Alliance Church after he moved to the area in October 2011. He estimates that he groped the buttocks of over 25 girls and the vaginas of four.

In June, Vang attended a retreat with other adult leaders from the church, where he said that he “told them” about his desire to touch little girls and his sexual contact with the 6-year-old victim. According to Vang, the retreat was made up of single adults and no pastor was present. His access to the girls at the church was not restricted after the retreat, he told investigators.

The congregation was made aware of Vang’s actions by Maplewood police on July 31, according to a statement on the church’s website.

“We will inform our leaders and take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of the children in our church,” the statement says. 

The investigation is ongoing. The Ramsey County attorney’s office is asking any additional potential victims of the defendant to contact their local law enforcement agency.

--Kaylin Creason

 

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