Fairfax County police said Friday that a former pastor of the Pilgrim Community Church in Burke, Virginia, has been charged with multiple counts of aggravated sexual battery against minors.
The department said in a statement that 37-year-old Sung Woo Hong, known as “Pastor Sam” to the community, served as an intern pastor and then pastor of youth activities and youth band director at the church from 2015 to 2019.
He is accused of multiple assaults against juvenile victims; one disclosed unlawful sexual contact in August and sparked the investigation, the police said, adding that an additional victim was identified during the investigation.
Hong was terminated from his position and left the country, according to Second Lieutenant J.P. Weeks.
“We believe he’s in South Korea,” Weeks said.
Weeks didn’t disclose why Hong was terminated by the church and attempts to contact church officials were not responded to ahead of publication.
The police said assaults occurred in a secluded church office between 2016 and 2019. They also remain concerned that there may be additional victims.
“Please let us know about it so we can provide resources through the major crimes bureau, our victim service section, and help you find justice in this matter,” Weeks said.
Hong was terminated in 2019 and returned to South Korea, the police said; they’re working with federal and South Korean officials to bring him back.
Police ask that anyone with information on the case call the Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800, option 3. Tips can also be submitted online, anonymously by phone at 866-411-8477, or via the Mobile tip411 App “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers.”
WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.