The former co-director of a youth ministry program rejected a plea deal on a child sexual abuse charge Thursday and now will have to be indicted by a grand jury if the case is to go to trial, the district attorney said.

Lucas Savage, 37, of Clinton, charged with class B unlawful sexual contact, was a co-director of Youth Haven Ministry in Canaan at the time of his arrest in March. He has not entered a plea.

“We made an offer today and it was rejected, so we have not settled the case,” Somerset County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said.

Savage is free on $1,000 cash bail and is prohibited from having contact with children under age 16, except for his own child. His attorney, Pamela Ames, did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

Youth Haven Ministry is a nonprofit group that provides free programs for children and teenagers, including weekly “hangouts,” classes and activities.

The ministry is affiliated with, but not part of, the Canaan Calvary Church, which provided financial support to the group.

On Thursday, the ministry’s website and Facebook page were both down and it was unclear whether the ministry remains open. A phone call to the Canaan Calvary Church was not returned.

Kern Savage, president of the ministry’s six-person board of directors, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Ron Dorman, vice president, did not respond to a call seeking comment.

According to a police affidavit filed in the case, the girl identified as the victim, now 11, told her mother that Lucas Savage “had put his hand down (her) pants” when she spent the night at his home.

She said Savage had touched her inappropriately “about 30 times” and that the two had exchanged “secret kisses.”

Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or at:

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