December 6, 2023
Christian Youth Theater signal. Photograph through @10News Twitter

A former worker of the El-Cajon primarily based Christian Youth Theater accused of sexually abusing an underage scholar in this system was ordered Wednesday to face trial on felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a toddler.

David Hott, 36, is accused of participating in intercourse acts with a 13-year-old woman in early 2007, when he was both 19 or 20 years of age.

The alleged sufferer, who’s now 30 years outdated, testified that on the time, she was a scholar at Christian Youth Theater whereas Hott labored as a “director” inside the group.

Hott, who stays out of custody, appeared in courtroom Wednesday for a preliminary listening to to find out whether or not he would go to trial on the costs.

The theater, based in 1980, is an after-school theater arts program with associates throughout the nation. This system has come underneath hearth in recent times as former college students and staff have alleged varied workers members sexually abused underage college students, leading to a lawsuit towards the group and felony prosecutions towards Hott and one other former worker.

The alleged sufferer referred to in courtroom as Jane Doe 1 stated she first met Hott at Christian Youth Theater when she was 10 years outdated and he was both 16 or 17. She stated Hott started making sexual feedback about her as soon as she reached puberty.

On one event when she was 13 years outdated, he allegedly supplied to present her and one other woman a experience house from a post-rehearsal dinner. After dropping the opposite woman off, Hott then drove in the wrong way from her home, Jane Doe 1 stated.

“He stated he wished to spend some alone time with me,” in line with Jane Doe 1, who testified that Hott pulled the automobile onto a random road, fondled her, and advised her, “Let’s faux you’re 17.”

After that, she stated he made repeated sexual advances on her over the following two years, culminating with an express voicemail message he allegedly despatched her when she was 15.

The voicemail was overheard by two of Jane Doe 1’s associates, who suggested she notify the police and an grownup.

Jane Doe 1’s mom, who labored at CYT on the time, testified that when she heard the voicemail, she “instantly” acknowledged Hott’s voice. She filed a police report, however in the end, “There was nothing that got here of it, as a result of it was a voicemail.”

On the time, Jane Doe 1 didn’t disclose the alleged bodily acts between herself and Hott to anybody else.

“I saved all of it to myself. I didn’t really feel like I might be believed,” she testified.

After Jane Doe 1’s mom realized no felony case can be pursued, she stated she introduced the voicemail to Paul Russell, then the pinnacle of Christian Youth Theater.

She stated Russell formulated a plan that will contain prohibiting Hott from instructing or being in any CYT productions for one 12 months, requiring him to put in writing a letter of apology to Jane Doe 1’s mother and father, and having him attend weekly counseling, although the character of that counseling was not disclosed in courtroom.

Jane Doe 1’s mom stated Hott’s letter expressed that he was “deeply sorry for what he had achieved” and “apologized for the inappropriateness of his conduct.”

She stated, “He might solely supply as an evidence that he didn’t see himself as an grownup.”

In lower than a 12 months, she noticed that Hott was concerned in one other CYT manufacturing, she testified.

Whereas each counts Hott faces are related to Jane Doe 1, the preliminary listening to additionally featured testimony from one other former CYT scholar who stated Hott started exchanging sexual textual content messages along with her starting when she was 14 years outdated and Hott was both 20 or 21.

The lady, recognized in courtroom as Jane Doe 2, stated this occurred on a nightly foundation and Hott would recurrently counsel driving to her home in the midst of the night time and taking her elsewhere so they may have intercourse. When she was 15 years, he kissed and groped her, she testified.

Together with Hott, one other former CYT worker, Brad Christian Davis, was charged with sexually abusing a unique woman, who was 16 on the time. He in the end pleaded responsible to a felony depend of sexual penetration by a overseas object, was sentenced to 2 years of probation and was ordered to register as a intercourse offender for all times.

Whereas prosecutors stated the conduct between Davis and the sufferer stretched from 2009 till 2011, starting when the sufferer was 14 and Davis was 26, the statute of limitations prevented further expenses within the case.

Detective Angela Johnson of the San Diego Police Division testified that a number of different victims got here ahead with claims towards varied CYT staff, however the statute of limitations prevented a lot of these circumstances from being pursued.

Hott and Davis have been charged in 2021, about one 12 months after a flood of allegations appeared on social media alleging sexual abuse by CYT staff.

Protests quickly adopted, and Christian Youth Theater management later introduced that a number of of the theater’s San Diego chapters can be shut down on an indefinite foundation.

A civil lawsuit towards the group stays pending, which alleges no less than 10 kids have been sexually abused by six totally different adults employed by Christian Youth Theater between 1991 and 2011 and accuses CYT leaders of concealing the abuse.

“CYT represented itself as a healthful, optimistic Christian group that folks might belief to offer a secure setting for his or her kids,” the grievance states. “In actuality, nonetheless, for nearly twenty years, CYT was not a secure haven for youngsters, however slightly a secure harbor for predators.”

Metropolis Information Service contributed to this text.