A former East Peoria church youth pastor began a 10-year prison term Thursday with his guilty plea to sexually assaulting a teenage youth over four years.
Jacob Coyle, 36, was sentenced to five years for criminal sexual assault, 10 short of the maximum for the crime but with the requirement to serve at least 85 percent of the term. He received five more years for aggravated criminal sexual abuse, producing a total term with good credit of 6 ¾ years.
Coyle admitted his actions to police last January after his victim, now 26, came forward with his story last October.
Coyle was still employed at the Averyville Baptist Church when police interviewed and arrested him, stated a prosecutor’s court affidavit.
The victim told police that Coyle had sexual contact with him on “multiple occasions” over four years beginning in January 2006, when he was 13. He had joined the church on Spring Bay Road a year earlier and, with other young parishoners, took part in youth program activities with the church’s “teen unit” led by Coyle, stated the affidavit.
Coyle “began a frequent practice of ‘cracking’ or rubbing youths’ backs during program activities, the victim said. The victim developed a friendship with Coyle, who often asked him to come to the church alone to help him with various projects. The back massages eventually led to sexual activity.
All of the encounters took place at the church, mostly in a guest bedroom, except for one Coyle committed at a church camp, the victim said.
Coyle was charged with committing the acts while in a position of supervision or authority over the youth. An extended statute of limitations for sex crimes against children permitted the charges to be filed, the affidavit stated.