Youth Pastor Accused of Sexually Abusing Boy at Averyville Baptist Church
A youth pastor at Averyville Baptist Church was arrested on Friday, January 25 for allegedly sexually abusing a young boy over the course of several years. The alleged victim, who is now an adult, came forward to police in October and told them that 36-year-old Jacob Lee Coyle sexually abused him numerous times when he was between the ages of 13 and 17.
Coyle has been charged with criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He remained in custody Tuesday on $100,000 bond.
The young man said that the alleged abuse began in 2006 and continued for four years. He said that he joined the church at age 12 and participated in youth activities as part of the church’s “teen unit”, which was led by Coyle. He also said that Coyle frequently “cracked” and rubbed the backs of youth group members during these activities.
According to the affidavit, nearly all of the sexual abuse occurred at the church. Most of them happened in a guest bedroom referred to the “prophet’s chambers.” There was also one assault at a church camp.
Coyle is charged with committing sexual assault while in a position of supervision or authority, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. The aggravated abuse charge has a maximum sentence of 7 years.
Legal Recourse for Child Sex Abuse Survivors
Attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com helps survivors of child sexual abuse find the justice and support they deserve in civil lawsuits. We’ve asked him to share some thoughts on the legal options available to these survivors:
Many of us grew up being warned of stranger danger. While there are certainly cases of sexual abuse with random perpetrators, predators are sadly more often close to their victims and found in positions of trust within their communities – such as our schools, churches, and youth sports organizations. Sexual predators create lifelong trauma for their victims. It’s critical to make sure they are reported immediately, prosecuted, and taken off the streets before they can continue abusing victims. Additionally, in cases of sexual abuse by religious leaders, it’s important to determine if the religious organization was also at fault.
In Illinois, the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse was lifted in 2017. This has allowed adult survivors of child sexual abuse to take legal action for crimes that may have happened decades ago. It’s extremely common for survivors not to speak out about the abuse they suffered as children until they’ve reached adulthood
If you or your child is a survivor of child sexual abuse, we understand the trauma you and your family has been suffering. Our experienced sex abuse survivors attorneys want to help you find justice for what you’ve gone through. Get in touch with us today to learn more about your family’s legal options.
Location of Averyville Baptist Church in East Peoria, IL