Volunteer faces sex assault charges

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Thursday, June 21, 2012
— The former president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rock, Walworth and Jefferson Counties faces charges of repeatedly sexually assaulting a young boy for whom he was a mentor.

Rodney Meiller, 51, of the town of Lafayette is accused of sexually assaulting the boy at the Lake Geneva YMCA and at Meiller's home, according to the Lake Geneva Police Department.

Meiller was released from the Walworth County Jail on Wednesday after posting a $5,000 cash bond.

Meiller was booked on two counts of repeated sexual assault of the same child. As a condition of his bond, Meiller is to have no contact with the boy, the boy's parents, any minors or any YMCA.

Police on Monday investigated allegations by the boy and his mother of multiple sexual assaults, Lake Geneva Police Chief Michael Rasmussen wrote in a news release. The reported assaults occurred at the YMCA at 203 Wells St., Lake Geneva, and in Meiller's home.

"It has been reported that the 51-year-old male was a Big Brother/Big Sister (volunteer) and has been in contact with the child since August of 2011," Rasmussen wrote in the news release.

Meiller was terminated as a volunteer when the group learned of the allegations, Richard Lowe, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rock, Walworth and Jefferson Counties, said in a written statement Wednesday.

Meiller was a former Big Brother to the boy and was the boy's Big Brother for some period of time after August 2011, Lowe said.

It was not clear Wednesday whether Meiller was the boy's Big Brother at the time of the reported assaults.

"We have zero tolerance for abuse," Lowe said. "We are alarmed and deeply saddened by reports of any child being harmed.

"Our volunteers and staff undergo thorough screening and background checks, and we provide ongoing professional support for our children and families."

The group is working with law enforcement in their investigation, Lowe said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters newsletters list Meiller as president of the local organization's board of directors in 2008 and 2009.

A criminal complaint in the case had not been filed as of Wednesday. Bond was set Tuesday based on a verbal summary of the allegations presented by prosecutors.

Lake Geneva police on Wednesday referred all questions about the case to the Walworth County District Attorney's Office, which declined to provide more details.

The Geneva Lake YMCA Board of Directors issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

"Mr. Meiller is not a member of the Geneva Lakes YMCA. The Geneva Lakes YMCA has no affiliation with or programs involving the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization. Upon learning of the allegation, the YMCA has been working proactively with law enforcement as they investigate. The safety and welfare of our patrons is first and foremost."

Meiller is scheduled to be back in court for an initial appearance at 1 p.m. Monday.

Last updated: 8:44 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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