N. Side Pastor Charged with Molesting Girls at His Home
By Rummana Hussain
August 10, 2006
William Sherrod, a 28-year-old associate pastor at a Cabrini-Green church, invited two girls he had been mentoring to join him for prayers at different times at his Northwest Side residence.
Then, he molested them, prosecutors said.
Sherrod, who also serves as the director of the Moody Church-affiliated Kids' Club at the Cabrini-Green public housing complex, was charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault and two counts of criminal sexual abuse for the attacks that occurred between Jan. 23 and June 29, said Marcy Jensen, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state's attorney's office.
Friends with parents
Sherrod, of the 2800 block of West Shakespeare, was wearing a T-shirt with a biblical passage during a Wednesday hearing at which he was assigned a $300,000 bond, Jensen said.
As of late Wednesday night, Sherrod had not posted bond.
The victims, both 16 at the time of the incidents, were Kids' Club members and attended the Living Faith Community Church, a ministry of the Moody Church where Sherrod volunteered, Jensen said. Sherrod is friends with the parents of both girls, she said.
Authorities were alerted to the alleged crimes after one girl told a camp counselor and the other told a pastor. Sherrod also made some admissions to a pastor, Jensen said.
This wasn't the first time Sherrod has had a run-in with the law, Jensen said, pointing to his probation sentence for two felony drug convictions in 1997.
Moody Church executive pastor Hutz Hertzberg refused to discuss how Sherrod was hired in spite of his criminal background or other personnel matters but said as of Wednesday Sherrod is no longer employed by Kids' Club or involved with the Living Faith ministry at 1000 N. Sedgwick.
Sherrod, Hertzberg said, was mostly responsible for staff oversight at the Kids' Club. He said the Moody Church has reported the matter to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.
Church 'prohibits' child abuse
"The vision of Kids' Club is to help high-risk inner-city children have new and abundant lives by nurturing the whole child. Consistent with this vision, the Moody Church and Kids' Club take the safety of our children very seriously. The Moody Church and the Kids' Club both have policies that specifically prohibit child abuse," Hertzberg said, reading from a prepared statement.
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