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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A volunteer was supposed to protect a special needs teen, but police say instead, he tried to molest him -- and that's not all.
Police say 33-year old Ronelle Southerling took advantage of a vulnerable 19-year-old victim.
Court records say Southerling picked the teen up from his Agape assisted living home and eventually the pair ended up drinking heavily at an apartment. That's when officers say Southerling tried to force the teen into oral sex and put his hands down the victim's pants.
Even with a slower mental state, the victim knew enough to know better.
Southerling works for Helping Hands medical transport. His job is to take people who can't drive to their various appointments. That's how he met the 19 year old -- taking him to a day program.
"So it was a mentor/mentee-type relationship," said Det. Dan Mason of the LMPD Sex Crimes Unit. "So we believe they befriended each other through this relationship."
WDRB is investigating: who should have guarded that relationship?
The sign in front of Helping Hands says it's a Christian-owned operation, but Southerling wasn't working at the time of the alleged molestation.
Representatives hung up when WDRB News called to ask about his background check.
Agape wouldn't go on camera, but over the phone said Southerling was approved to spend personal time with the teen by his state guardian.
The Department of Health and Family Services would only say it's investigating.
"Who has the final say on who interacts with this 19-year-old?" asked WDRB's Gilbert Corsey.
"I will go back and see if I get anything more for you. This is all the information I have at this time," said Jill Midkiff, director of communication with the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services.
This incident happened in May and is only coming to light because the victim spoke up.
Ronelle was arrested at work Tuesday afternoon.
"He was cooperative with us," said Det. Mason. "He is still cooperating with us at this time and, like I said, based on his interview we felt like we had enough to move forward."
Southerling pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday morning.