Ex-youth minister gets 7 years in prison for sexually abusing teen
A former West Dundee church youth group director was sentenced to seven years in prison Monday after admitting to sexually abusing a teen girl in spring and summer 2013.
Chad A. Coe, 36, of the 7100 block of Bannockburn Circle, faced up to 15 years if convicted of the most severe charge of criminal sexual assault and his jury trial was scheduled for this week.
Kane County Judge James Hallock accepted Coe's plea, in which prosecutors dismissed the most serious charges, such as criminal sexual assault.
Coe received the maximum sentence of seven years for aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
His plea was unexpected; prosecutors were prepared for a weeklong trial and jury selection was to begin Monday morning.
"I hope this finally gets the family some closure after five years," said Deb Bree, executive director of the Kane County Child Advocacy Center, which investigates crimes against children on behalf of the state's attorney's office. "I'm pleased the victim will not have to take the (witness) stand and recount the horror she faced by someone she trusted so much."
Coe, a former youth group leader at First Congregational Church of Dundee, was fired shortly after his arrest in July 2013.
He also was charged with possession of child pornography in late 2013, but prosecutors later dropped those charges.
He had been free on bond since his arrest; deputies took him away in handcuffs after his guilty plea.
Coe was accused of grooming the victim, a Sleepy Hollow girl, when she was 14 and then sexually assaulting her at 15 in the church basement.
Defense attorney Brittany Pedersen declined to comment.
Under state law, Coe can have his sentence cut in half for good behavior.
He also must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life after his prison release and is to have no contact with the victim.
The victim and her family sued Coe, the church, the United Church of Christ, and the General Synod and Illinois Conference of the UCC for damages.
The victim argued the church was negligent in hiring, supervising and retaining Coe.
All the defendants except Coe were removed by a trial court ruling, but an appellate court last October reversed that decision and sent the lawsuit back to Kane County.
No new date has been set for that lawsuit.