A young man’s decision to come forward produced charges filed Friday that his youth pastor sexually assaulted him for years at their rural East Peoria church.
Jacob Lee Coyle, 36, remained in custody Tuesday, one day after a $100,000 bond was set on charges of criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
A Tazewell County prosecutor’s court affidavit stated Coyle, of Peoria, acknowledged committing the acts the affidavit described.
Coyle remained employed at the Averyville Baptist Church as of Friday, when police interviewed and arrested him, the affidavit stated. The church’s pastor was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
The young man first told police in October that Coyle had sexual contact with him on “multiple occasions” over four years beginning in January 2006 when he was between ages 13 and 17, the affidavit stated.
He said that after joining the church on Spring Bay Road at age 12, he and other young parishoners worshipped on Sundays and took part in youth activities with the church’s “teen unit” led by Coyle, the affidavit stated.
The alleged victim said Coyle “began a frequent practice of ‘cracking’ or rubbing youths’ backs during youth program activities,” the affidavit stated.
By age 13, he’d developed a close friendship with Coyle, who often asked him to come to the church alone to help him with various projects, the young man said. Soon the back massages led to sexual activity, the young man said.
All of the encounters took place at the church, mostly in a guest bedroom known as the “prophet’s chambers,” except for one Coyle committed at a church camp, the man said.
The sexual assault charge, alleging Coyle committed the crime while in a position of supervision or authority over the youth, is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The aggravated abuse charge carries a maximum seven-year term. An extended statute of limitations permits both charges to be filed, the affidavit stated. Coyle is next due in court on Feb. 21.