Prospect Heights men accused of sexually assaulting teens at party

Prosecutors say Prospect Heights couple invited three to party

  • Anthony Wheeler

    Anthony Wheeler

  • Christopher Wheeler

    Christopher Wheeler

 

By Barbara Vitello

Legal Affairs Writer

Updated 3/30/2017 7:55 PM

"What happens in the house stays in the house."

Prosecutors say Christopher Wheeler, 30, of Prospect Heights made that statement to a 14-year-old boy they say he sexually abused earlier this month at the home he shares with his husband, Anthony Wheeler, 25.

 

The men are charged with multiple counts of criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving two 14-year-old boys and one 15-year-old boy.

Christopher Wheeler was ordered held on $4 million bail. Anthony Wheeler was ordered held on $3 million bail. Neither defendant has any criminal background, according to prosecutors.

Cook County Judge Joseph Cataldo ordered the men to post the entire bail, instead of the 10 percent defendants must typically post, in order to be released from custody.

In the crowded Rolling Meadows courtroom, spectators -- including the defendants' family members -- sat silent and expressionless during Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Maria McCarthy's explicit proffer to the court.

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McCarthy said the teens had been invited to the men's house for dinner and a birthday party when the sexual abuse took place.

One of the 14-year-olds said he received beer and a hookah pipe to smoke, McCarthy said. He told authorities the men abused him about five times between June 1 and July 31, 2016, she said. According to the teen, a camera appeared to film the abuse on at least one occasion, McCarthy said.

Also, according to McCarthy, the teen said Christopher Wheeler threatened to "beat him up" if he did not do as the man instructed.

Defense attorney Marie Taraska said two other teens were questioned and "denied any improper conduct." She pointed out that despite the allegation of video, no pornography charges are pending.

The other 14-year-old told authorities Christopher Wheeler abused him on March 3 after giving him a back massage, McCarthy said. The teen's mother reported the abuse to police the next day after she saw text messages referring to the abuse, McCarthy said.

The 15-year-old boy met the defendants through church, said McCarthy, who did not provide the name of the church. The teen told police the defendants showed him pornographic videos and sexually abused him on March 5, McCarthy said.

All three teens identified both defendants in photo lineups, prosecutors said.

Accused: One teen's mother notified police

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