West Dundee church in 'difficult time' after sex charges against youth director
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Leaders at a West Dundee church, where a youth group director is accused of having sex with a minor, aren't jumping to any conclusions.
Chad Coe, 31, of Elgin, is on paid administrative leave while his case and investigation by authorities is pending, said Aaron James, senior pastor at the First Congregational Church of Dundee.
"Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with everyone who is affected. Our prayers are for justice for all those involved," James said. "We are making no presumptions as to guilt or innocence."
Coe, was arrested July 2 and charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault.
He was released July 4 after a family member posted $10,000 bond.
According to court documents, Coe is accused of having sex with a girl between 13 and 17 years old in June. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
No use of force is made in the charges, but because the girl is a minor, she cannot give consent.
Attorney D.J. Tegeler said his client, who has spent the last six years at the church, maintains his innocence.
"He's never been arrested. He has no criminal background at all," Tegeler said. "It's a bad situation, obviously, when any allegation like this occurs."
Coe, who is not an ordained minister, served as the church's director of youth ministries for about six years, James said.
James said the church has made grief and crisis counselors available to teens in the youth ministry, as well as staff and church members. Others have pitched in to run youth ministries.
"We have staff and members of our congregation who are stepping forward to make sure the youth are well cared for," James said. "You can imagine this has been a difficult time for many. We are focusing on caring for one another."
James said it would be difficult to characterize the mood at the church, especially during the first weekend after Coe's arrest.
"I would hesitate to characterize it because I can't speak for everyone," James said. "I could invite anybody to come by an see (for themselves). I believe we are a fortunate and, in many ways, blessed organization."
Coe is next due in court July 25.
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