West suburban pastor charged with molesting boy - FOX 32 News Chicago

West suburban pastor charged with molesting boy

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John Hays / photo from Chicago Police John Hays / photo from Chicago Police
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The former pastor of a west suburban church sexually abused a boy who was his neighbor and a parishioner, Cook County prosecutors said Friday.

John Hays, 57, allegedly abused the victim from the time he was 8 until he was 13, Assistant State’s Attorney Beth Novy told a judge.

Hays, of the 5800 block of West Race, is listed in police records as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of River Forest, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

“Beginning when the victim was about 8 years old, the victim would go to the defendant’s house to play video games with the defendant’s sons. While the boys were playing the games, [Hays] would enter the room and place the victim on his lap” and fondle him, Novy said.

Hays played what he called “a tickle game and touch the victim all over the victim’s body,” Novy said.

Hays allegedly also squeezed the boy’s upper thigh when driving the boy to school.

When the victim was 19, he attended a training program to become a camp counselor, Novy said.

“During the training the victim learned about how to respond if he were to learn of the sexual abuse of a child,” she said. “That triggered the victim’s memory and he immediately outcried to his parents, who in turn confronted [Hays] in the company of other community members.”

Hays admitted “to touching the victim’s penis and upper thigh just as the victim had recounted,” Novy said.

Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. ordered Hays held on a $250,000 bond.

Hays’ attorney, Robert Heap, told the judge his client is no longer working at the church.

Heap declined further comment following Friday’s hearing.

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