Former Elmhurst youth minister sentenced on sexual abuse charges
A former Elmhurst church youth minister was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to criminal sexual assault of a teenage girl he previously mentored.
With his plea, 43-year-old Darin Evans, a former associate pastor and youth minister at West suburban Community Church, admitted to having sexual contact with the girl in parks, cemeteries, men's restrooms, and during a religious retreat in Wisconsin.
The encounters began in 2004 when the victim was 16 and being spiritually counseled by Evans for "adolescent issues," authorities said. The abuse lasted until about September 2005.
Prosecutors said Evans groomed the girl for abuse by showering her with gifts and attention while being in a position of "trust, supervision or authority."
Some of the abuse took place in a vehicle outside College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn while the girl was still in high school. Prosecutors said Evans told the girl to keep the encounters secret and threatened to kill himself if anyone found out.
Elmhurst police arrested Evans in March 2013, about a month after the allegations came to light.
Evans worked at the church for 11 years before leaving late last year to take a job with another church-related organization in Ohio. The Rev. Jim Lennon, who previously described Evans as "the last person" anyone would suspect of sexual abuse, declined to comment on Thursday's pleadings and sentencing.
Evans, a married father of three, was living in Dover, Ohio, when the allegations were made against him. He returned to the area to speak to police as soon as he learned of the investigation.
Evans initially faced 11 counts of criminal sexual assault and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. If convicted of all charges, he would have qualified for a minimum 47 years in prison because of consecutive-sentencing laws.
He has been free on $300,000 bail since four days after his arrest. He must serve 85 percent of the 10-year sentence and he gets credit for the four days he spent in custody. He must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.