Church volunteer arrested for allegedly sexually abusing young boy

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police have arrested a convicted sex offender they believe sexually victimized a young boy while volunteering at a Valley-area church.  Police said Eduardo De Los Reyes, 46, met the 15-year-old boy he's accused of abusing while volunteering to work construction on an addition at Light of the World church near downtown Phoenix.

“Just like everyone else in Arizona we’re very shocked and concerned by the situation and we’re presenting all the support to the victim and the victim’s family,” said Abisag Ayala, legal counsel for the church.

Ayala said the church takes the safety of its children and members very seriously.  Although she wasn’t sure how Reyes actually met the victim, she said his mother came to the priest with her concerns and was instantly advised to tell police about the abuse.

“This particular situation occurred outside the parameters of the church at the construction site during non-service hours.  But still the church initiated the report and is working with authorities on the investigation,” Ayala said.

Detectives said Reyes took the young boy into the church’s construction area where he pretended to do medical examinations.  According to police, Reyes went so far as to fake taking notes in a folder to mask the sexual acts he was performing and make them seem more legitimate to the boy.

The church said Reyes sometimes attends services but is not an active member.  Although the church does some background screening for volunteers who work with kids, Reyes wasn’t checked because construction volunteers don't normally have access to children. 

“He’s basically a laborer working with other men at the construction site.  He had nothing to do with the children at the church,” Ayala said.

Police records show Reyes is a registered sex offender, convicted in California of indecent exposure in 1998.  He was arrested for the same crime in 2010.  This time around Reyes is in the Maricopa County Jail, charged with sexual conduct with a minor, sexual abuse, and sexually motivated kidnapping.