Former West Dundee church youth leader also accused of child pornography
By Dave Gathman firstname.lastname@example.org January 17, 2014 11:50AM
Chad A. Coe
Updated: February 20, 2014 6:39AM
ST. CHARLES TWP. — A former West Dundee church youth leader, who already was accused of having sex with a teenager, also had child pornography videos on a computer, according to charges in a new indictment that was unsealed Friday.
Chad A. Coe, 32, of the 500 block of Dundee Avenue in Elgin, was charged in July with having sexual contact with a person age 13 to 16 the previous month at First Congregational Church of West Dundee. Coe, a lay employee of the church, had been director of First Congregational’s youth ministries at the time.
When Coe appeared before Kane County Circuit Judge James Hallock for a status hearing on those charges Friday, the judge opened a sealed indictment issued by the grand jury on Dec. 19 that also charges Coe with six counts of possession of child pornography, a Class 2 felony.
According to the second indictment, investigators searching a computer memory or disc controlled by Coe found six videos, motion pictures or other “moving depictions” showing images of children who are apparently under age 18, nude and engaged in sexually oriented acts.
According to the indictment, he possessed these videos between Sept. 19, 2011 and Aug. 13, 2013. That suggests he allegedly still owned the videos more than a month after his arrest in the molestation incident.
The indictment did not make clear whether that computer or disc had been found at the church, in Coe’s home or at some other location.
Coe’s attorney, D.J. Tegeler, said Coe was arrested by Elgin police soon after the second indictment was returned last month. Coe was released after posting 10 percent of a $100,000 bail.
He already had been free on $100,000/10 percent bail related to the July charges, pending resolution of the case in court.
Sexting to victim
When Coe was first arrested in the molestation case, he was charged with one count of criminal sexual assault, a Class 1 felony, and one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony.
On Dec. 5 the grand jury indicted him on those counts and also on five other charges: an additional count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, one count of grooming a minor (a Class 4 felony), one count of obscenity to a minor (a misdemeanor), one point of distributing explicit material to a minor (a misdemeanor) and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor (a misdemeanor).
According to those indictments, Coe had intercourse with the victim, who was at least 13 years old but was younger than 17. Some wording in the indictments imply the victim is a girl. The grand jury also charges that Coe sent his victim “a photo of male nudity ... by electronic social media” and used the Internet “to entice a child to engage in unlawful sexual activity.”
“My client professes his innocence and we will plead not guilty,” Tegeler said Friday.
In court Friday, Tegeler and Assistant State’s Attorney Debra Bree discussed some information that prosecutors have been asked to provide to Tegeler. Hallock said Coe will be arraigned on both sets of charges on Feb. 19.
Fired by church
First Congregational Church at first put Coe on paid leave until the case could be settled. But church leaders announced in November that because the congregation could not go on so long without a youth leader, Coe was being replaced.
“While we make no assumptions regarding the outcome of the legal process, it has become clear that, because he has not been able to fulfill his duties, our current circumstances are unsustainable,” Senior Pastor Aaron James wrote to members. “As a church, we need to hire staff to address our ministry needs. We continue to pray for justice and assist in every way possible in the pursuit of justice. We ask God’s blessings of healing and comfort upon all who have been affected.”
If convicted of the most serious July charge, Coe could be sentenced to between four and 15 years in prison, or probation. If convicted of the child-porn charges, he faces up to three to seven years on each of the six counts, or probation.
Under Illinois law, having sex with a minor is considered to be an even more serious offense if the offender is in a position of trust and/or authority over the victim at the time, such as a teacher or church leader. The first indictment mentions this aggravating factor, which suggests that the alleged victim was a member of the church’s youth group.
A statement from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office in July said police began investigating the June incident when the victim’s mother complained to authorities.