Ex-church employee charged with sex assault of at least 6 kids - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Ex-church employee charged with sex assault of at least 6 kids

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Juan David Ferreras, 43. (Village of Cicero) Juan David Ferreras, 43. (Village of Cicero)
CICERO (FOX 32 News) -

A former secretary at a west suburban church was held on $400,000 bond Wednesday for allegedly sexually abusing at least six juveniles, and police believe there may be more victims.

Juan David Ferreras, 43, of Cicero was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, two counts of criminal sexual assault, sexual exploitation of a child, indecent solicitation of a child, four counts of distribution of harmful material, and battery, according to a statement from Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania.

Ferreras was employed at Sonido de Alabanza Church at 5510 W. 25th St. in Cicero, when he allegedly engaged in sexual acts with at least six children between 9 and 17 years old, according to Hanania.

Hanania said Ferreras was employed as a youth minister and teacher at the church, but a spokesman for the church said he was a secretary.

Sonido de Alabanza's leadership and its pastors are fully cooperating with Cicero authorities, Senior Pastor Esdras Ferreras said in a statement, adding, "We will pray for repentance and healing as Jesus commands us."

"We stand and pray with the families and all victims at this time," the pastor said.

A spokesman for the church did not return messages seeking comment on whether the two are related.

Spokesman Tom Ciesielka said Juan David Ferreras was employed as a secretary at the church for about two years, performing only clerical duties and secretarial work, and did not come into contact with children as part of his duties.

The sexual acts happened at the church, at Ferreras' apartment in Cicero, and at two camps in Ingleside and Tsikilwa in western Illinois, where the church ran retreats, Hanania said.

Ciesielka said the retreats were men-only or women-only, but parents could bring their children if they were 13 or over. He said Ferreras did attend retreats but only as a church member, not as a camp leader.

Ferreras, of the 5700 block of West 35th Street in Cicero, was ordered held on $400,000 bond at a hearing Wednesday, authorities said. He will next appear in court April 22.

Cicero police are searching for other possible victims. Anyone with information should call police Dep. Supt. Jose Gonzalez at (708) 652-2130, ext. 348.

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