Pastor Jonathon Christopher Powell Faces Additional Sex Abuse Charges

The story is courtesy of the Rockford Register Star.

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By Sadie Gurman

A Machesney Park pastor accused of having sex with a teenage girl faces new sexual-abuse charges after Winnebago County Sheriff’s detectives investigated similar claims from a second teenage girl.

Jonathon Christopher Powell, 40, a senior pastor at New Hope Baptist Church, was charged Wednesday with two counts of criminal sexual abuse for allegedly having “sexual conduct” with the second girl, Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro said.

A criminal complaint filed in Winnebago County Court says the acts happened between Aug. 20, 2003 and Aug. 19, 2004. The first count alleges that Powell fondled the girl’s breast; the second count alleges that he placed his mouth on her breast.

Iasparro declined to comment on the details of the police investigation, but said it continues. Powell was charged last week with two counts of criminal sexual assault for allegedly having ongoing “inappropriate sexual relations” with a girl. The age of consent for sexual relations in Illinois is 17 and above.

He was in the Winnebago County Jail, where he is being held without bond.

Leaders and members of the church, where Powell had been a pastor since 2000, have declined to comment, and messages left on the church’s answering machine today were not returned.

A white wooden sign outside of the church noting its times of service had Powell’s name on it at the beginning of Tuesday, but by Tuesday night it had been removed.

Each count of criminal sexual assault is punishable with four to 15 years in prison; criminal sexual abuse is punishable with probation or one to three years in prison.

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3 Responses

  1. How dare you give details about what he is being charged with! I guarantee that the girl involved doesn’t want the world to know what had happened or even possibly what had happened! How do you think she feels about that? Someday that could be you with your name or your family member being talked about for the whole world to view! You are as sick as the man being charged.

  2. Please read further in the site and you will see why I post these stories — it is because I care.

    Also note I am not posting anything other than a news article — with no commentary assuming his guilt or flourishes to imply it. The article includes no details; only a very general statement about the type of charges being made.

    If he is proven guilty, I would welcome you to return here to read the articles here about dealing with the aftermath of clergy sex abuse. You will find yourself in a great deal of company.

    If on the other hand he is proven innocent or charges are dropped, I’d encourage you to point out the news stories to me so I can be sure to post them. I always hope for the best, knowing that it rarely turns out that they are innocent. In the past six months I’ve had this site it has only happened once. In my private life I’ve only known it to happen twice — out of many, many times the charges were proven accurate.

    — Danni

  3. oh wow
    i knew that man, ive met him many times and attended many of his sermons…..this does not surprise me, he was a suspicious guy and he always scanned the girls as if hes looking down on them but i guess somethin else….i never liked him..disgusting he deserves to be in jail and i know the assumed victim…..hyporcritical preacher….he makes me sick

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