Sex trial of former West Dundee youth minister delayed; lawsuit hits hurdle
The trial of a former West Dundee church youth group leader charged with sexual assault and child pornography possession has been delayed again, this time to Sept. 21.
Meanwhile, the supervisors of Chad Coe at First Congregational Church of Dundee are seeking to be removed from a lawsuit filed by his accuser.
Coe, formerly of Elgin and residing in Lakewood, was charged in July 2013 with sexually assaulting a girl in the youth group earlier that year. He was charged with child pornography possession in late 2013, with authorities saying he had images on his computer from September 2011 to August 2013, according to court records.
The accuser and her parents filed suit against Coe, the former director of youth ministry, and the church, arguing the church and its leaders should have done more to protect the girl, didn't do an adequate background check and disregarded warnings from parents in spring and summer 2013 about his behavior.
A judge in May 2016 dismissed lawsuit counts against Pastor Aaron James and the church, giving attorneys of the victim, known in court filings as Jane Doe, a chance to refile their complaint against James.
A judge May 11 will hear a second batch of arguments by attorneys representing James and the church.
James' attorney Thomas Scherschel argues the new complaint also is "devoid" of specific allegations James and the church "should have reasonably foreseen" any crime by Coe.
Scherschel said an allegation Coe allowed girls to sit on his lap in 2011 proved nothing.
"Knowledge that a person 'allowed' minors to sit on his lap in 2011 does not make it reasonably foreseeable that that said person would rape a minor two years later in 2013. If such were the case, then there would be no Santa Claus at any mall in the state during the Christmas season," Scherschel wrote.
If convicted of the most severe charges in the sex case, Coe faces up to 15 years in prison and registration as a sex offender. The pornography charges carry a seven-year maximum prison term.
Coe is free on bond and due in court Aug. 16 for a pretrial conference.