Judge seals Mooseheart pedophile case file, closes court hearings
A Kane County judge has sealed the court file and closed future proceedings of a man convicted of abusing boys at Mooseheart in the 1990s, while state officials are trying to have him committed as a sexually violent person.
The attorney for Chad Wahl, 44, said his client's case is a mental health matter and can be held in private under state law.
"It's a mental health proceeding. The law requires it to be confidential," said Daniel Coyne, an attorney who specializes in defending people facing involuntarily commitment under the Sexually Violent Persons Act of 1998.
Judge James Hallock last week ordered Wahl's case file sealed at the request of Coyne.
Wahl, formerly of Pekin, was sentenced to 21 years in prison for sexually abusing six boys at Mooseheart, a facility near Batavia for troubled youths where he worked as a "house parent" in the early 1990s.
A licensed clinical psychologist interviewed Wahl on Sept. 19 and concluded he was a pedophile who is likely to reoffend, according to a report in Wahl's case file before it was sealed.
The psychologist noted that Wahl had refused sex offender treatment while in prison, denied being sexually abused by his father when he had admitted it in previous investigations and in personal letters written from prison. He also alludes to setting up a child pornography business after his prison release, according to court documents.
Jonathan McKay, an assistant Illinois Attorney General who is the prosecutor on the case, declined to comment Monday.
A Jan. 24 hearing before Hallock also is closed.
In the hearing, Hallock is expected to hear evidence on whether Wahl should be held in a state facility until he goes before a jury.
Wahl was released from prison in mid-November and has been held in a state department of human services facility while the case is pending.
In order for offenders to be officially classified as sexually violent and held indefinitely, they must have been convicted of a sex crime, diagnosed with a mental health disorder, and a jury must decide it's "substantially probable" the person will commit another sex crime.
Coyne said if the matter advanced to a jury, those proceedings also would be closed.
Other similar cases in Kane County have been open, and Coyne suggested that defense attorneys in those were not aware court proceedings could be closed.
"These are not criminal cases. They are mental health cases," he said, declining additional comment on Wahl's case. "It's certainly nothing that novel or new unique to the case. That's what the law requires."