The Pekin Daily Times reports 26-year-old Nicholas Lawrence, of Pekin, served as pastor of youth services at Pekin Church of God.
The church's pastor says he held that position for nearly two years until he was fired in June.
Lawrence is charged with one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child under age 13. If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison.
Pekin police declined Thursday to provide many details of its ongoing investigation of Lawrence, but said its case began with information collected in the Peoria County case.
“It’s something Peoria started investigating based on a complaint there,” said Pekin Police Public Information Officer Mike Eeten. “Their investigation led to discovery of a crime in Pekin, and the investigation began here.”
The local probe “is consistent with the Peoria investigation,” Eeten said. “It involves a young child,” though he declined to say whether the case involves Lawrence’s contact with children through his church duties.
He's being held in Peoria County Jail, and his bond has been set at $100,000.
His preliminary hearing is Sept. 25. The circuit clerk's office in Peoria County says its records don't show an attorney yet for him.
Pekin is a city of about 35,000, just south of Peoria, Illinois.
I'm a bit of an idealist, at times, but it astounds me that pedophiles can be hired by God-fearing churches. If you pray whether or not to hire the guy, surely the Holy Spirit will tell you that he has a problem. Wasn't there one person on the board, or one elder with a gift of discernment? Far too few pastors and board members seem to be listening to the Holy Spirit.