Beaufort News

Beaufort man accused of sexual conduct with child at church school

Editor's note: Six weeks after charges were filed, Beaufort County Magistrate Richard Brooks dismissed the charges against Joel Iacopelli. In December of 2015, Iacopelli sued the town of Port Royal. The lawsuit alleges that Iacopelli was slandered and maliciously prosecuted by the police department. The suit is pending. 

This story also was updated 5 p.m. July 13, 2015, to correct information characterized from the police report. The report said a teacher took the girls from the class to the restroom, and the alleged victim stayed behind in the classroom. Also, Community Bible Church senior pastor Carl Broggi did not say the police report was inaccurate Monday, but only potentially inaccurate, as he had not seen the report at that time.

A Beaufort man was charged with criminal sexual conduct Friday, accused of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl during Sunday Bible school in June, according to a report from the Port Royal Police Department.

Joel Iacopelli, 44, was charged after an investigation into an alleged incident June 28 at Community Bible Church, the report said.

The girl reported the assault to her mother when they got into their car to leave church, the report said. The report said a teacher took the girls from the class to the restroom, and the alleged victim stayed behind in the class. Iacopelli allegedly picked up the girl and sexually assaulted her, the report said.

The next day, the girl was brought to Sea Island Pediatrics, where a report was made to police. Following an investigation, Iacopelli was charged Friday afternoon with criminal sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 11.

Iacopelli, a Beaufort insurance agent, had served on the Lowcountry Montessori School's board of directors since October, but he was removed from the charter school's board after his arrest Friday, board chairman Warren Engle said Monday. Previously, Iacopelli was a board member at the charter school Bridges Prep in Beaufort.

He remained Monday in the Beaufort County Detention Center. Bond for Iacopelli's charge must be set in Beaufort County General Sessions court.

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.

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