COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A former church youth leader was charged with sexual abuse this week after prosecutors said he spent several months sexting and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy.
Police arrested Anthawn Ingram, 35, on Tuesday at American Kidz Academy, a Hyde Park day care center where he's currently employed.
According to prosecutors, the abuse started in March 2013 when a then-14-year-old boy told Ingram he'd been questioning his sexuality. The teen was a member of Praise Temple of Restoration Church, 5443 W. Huron St., where Ingram had spent two years as a youth leader, prosecutors said.
Over the next two months, Ingram exchanged hundreds of texts with the teen, according to Assistant State's Attorney Robert Mack. The texts quickly became sexual, Mack said, and police later recovered photos of Ingram's genitalia on his phone.
According to prosecutors, Ingram once touched the teen's butt and thighs over his clothes while he and the victim were at church.
In May 2013, Ingram met up with the teen at his Austin home and the two had sex, prosecutors said. Ingram allegedly told the teen not to tell anyone.
A year later, the teen told a cousin and his mother what had happened, Mack said. Prosecutors said in court Wednesday they weren't sure why there was such a delay in reporting the abuse.
Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered Ingram on held in lieu of $500,000 bail. She said he couldn't return to work at the day care or interact with anyone under 18.
Pointing to the fact that Ingram had a leadership position at the victim's church, she said: "I cannot ignore it. I will not ignore it."
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