GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An Ottawa County man is facing charges more than 10 years after police say he sexually abused a young boy.
24 Hour News 8 has learned that in the time since the alleged abuse, the suspect has held a number of jobs involving children.
Daniel Hoffman, now 31, is charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Court records from March — when an arrest warrant was issued — show the alleged abuse happened over the course of several years from 2003 to 2008. A police sergeant who testified in court in March said the suspect and the victim were neighbors in Jenison.
Before that, in January, an Ottawa County sheriff’s detective wrote in an affidavit for a search warrant that Hoffman was being treated at a Zeeland hospital for a “psychotic break” in October 2016 when he told a nurse that he had inappropriately touched the victim when the boy was 6 years old. Hoffman would have been 17 or 18 at the time.
The detective interviewed the alleged victim, now an adult, who said that from the age of 5 or 6 until he was 10 to 12 years old, Hoffman repeatedly fondled him. The alleged victim said it happened at Hoffman’s house, in his camper and at Camp Ao-Wa-Kiya in Shelby, where Hoffman was a counselor and the boy was a camper.
The alleged victim’s family chose not to talk to 24 Hour News 8 on camera Tuesday, but said the alleged victim has suffered from depression and thoughts of suicide in the years since the alleged abuse. The family released a statement saying that the suspect “has been involved with so many young people that there are possibly more victims.”
The family said they “want parents and children to know that there are people out there like this, more than we think, and they are devious. If you suspect that your child has been abused look for the signs of mood swings, depression, nausea in the morning and a reluctance to be part of society… even with months of therapy our son was reluctant to say anything because this individual had groomed him to think it was OK until going through maturity realizing it was not. There isn’t anything wrong with bringing this to people’s attention. There is help out there and in our case our son has a huge support system that is helping him, but he has been permanently affected by this and his youth was taken away from him. Don’t let people like this destroy your life talk to someone and above all if it does not feel right say no.”
Court records show Hoffman was a paraprofessional at Jenison Public Schools and also a youth minister, most recently at Alive Ministries in Jenison, 24 Hour News 8 learned. Court records show both of those positions have since been terminated. The lead pastor at Alive Ministries said Hoffman was asked to resign in August.
24 Hour News 8 sought comment from the superintendent of Jenison Public Schools on Hoffman’s tenure at the school, but had not heard back as of Tuesday evening.
Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Kempker told 24 Hour News 8 that his department does not have any indications that any other children were victimized by Hoffman.
“As of right now we do not, but again, I really want to stress that there’s the potential out there that there could be other victims,” Kempker said. “In cases like this, especially with all the other employment that he had, it’s not uncommon to have other victims.”
“If there are other victims out there, we encourage them to come forward,” he added.
Hoffman is out of jail on bond. 24 Hour News 8 stopped by his house Tuesday to give him a chance to comment on the allegations.
“I don’t want to talk, I need to talk to my lawyer,” he said before shutting the door.
24 Hour News 8 reached out to his defense attorney by phone and email, but had not heard back as of Tuesday evening.
Hoffman has pleaded not guilty in the case. He is scheduled to go to trial in August.