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Illinois Pastor Accused of Destroying Evidence of Sexually Grooming 15-year-old Girl

The former pastor of a Decatur, Illinois, church accused of sending inappropriate messages to a 15-year-old girl tried to wipe evidence from his phone when he was confronted, a sworn police affidavit said.

The Macon County Sheriff’s Office said officers saw Joseph M. Krol using his phone as they knocked on his door to arrest him and found when they obtained it that he had reset it to factory settings, the Decatur Herald-Review reported.

Krol was arrested Oct. 15 and charged with sexually grooming the girl, a Class 4 felony, with bail set at $75,000.

The grooming allegedly took place when Krol was a pastor at Galilee Baptist in Decatur. He is currently senior pastor of Rochester First Baptist Church in Rochester, Illinois.

Krol also served as an operations manager and on-air host for WLUJ, a Christian radio station licensed to Springfield, Illinois, per the Roys Report.

The girl had already turned over her phone to authorities, and in the affidavit, Sgt. Roger Pope of the Macon County Sheriff’s Office said he took over one of the girl’s social media accounts with her permission and posed as her during conversations with Krol. Pope said Krol requested photos of the girl in her underwear, asked sexually explicit questions and sent her a video showing the outlines of his genitalia.

Pope said Krol also asked her to show that she was alone in her room before sending sexually explicit content, per the Herald-Review.

Rochester First Baptist posted on its website:

We as a church are grieved to learn of this allegation involving Dr. Krol. Because we take this seriously, we have immediately suspended Dr. Krol from all responsibilities. We have great concern and are in prayer for all affected by the situation and will cooperate with any law enforcement investigation.”

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.