COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Family and friends are coming to the defense of a Colorado Springs youth pastor accused of a sex crime, saying there's more to the story than police have released.
Michael Rueffert, the executive director of Southern Colorado Youth For Christ, was cited for unlawful sexual contact, a misdemeanor charge, after police say he exposed himself to a woman in his home and forced her to touch him.
Rueffert's family tells KRDO that the accuser is someone Rueffert and his wife have known for years and tried to help with substance abuse and legal troubles. They say the woman made the allegation because she got angry.
"When something like this comes out in the news, I feel it's so important the other side is heard also," said Rueffert's friend Randy Geving.
Geving said he's known Rueffert for more than a decade and worked with him at the ministry, an organization that ministers to incarcerated youth.
"Mike is someone that so many people in this community see as really the epitome of integrity and high character," Geving said. "These situations are so devastating-- when some information comes out that I believe is not truthful that can harm someone's reputation. How does one get their reputation back?"
What evidence police have is still unknown. They say they'll release Rueffert's affidavit next week.
In a press release, CSPD describes the alleged victim as being "in an extremely vulnerable state due to extenuating factors and at the time, was depending on Mr. Rueffert for assistance."
A CSPD spokesperson said Rueffert was cited with a misdemeanor because there was not enough evidence for a felony arrest.
According to family, Rueffert has been removed from his position at Southern Colorado Youth for Christ. The YFC board has suspended him until this case is finished.
KRDO will continue to follow this story and bring you the latest information.