Photo Credits: Defense.gov
Roger VanRaden, 48, a former assistant pastor at a Champaign church, has been charged with sexually assaulting a teen who was a member of the congregation. He reportedly admitted to sexually assaulting a young girl in a four-year period (from 2015 to 2019). The sexual assault began when the girl was just 14 years old.
The victim told a trusted adult that she and VanRaden had been engaging in various sex acts for about four years. That adult arranged for her to meet with her family then make the report to the sheriff’s office. The teen told Detective Dwayne Roelfs what had been happening between her and VanRaden. Roelfs later located and interviewed VanRaden: “He admitted he had been sexually active with her, knew her age, and knew it was wrong, but continued to have sex with her, knowing he shouldn’t have. At the end of the interview, he was arrested,” Apperson said. He also served as a music pastor at the First Baptist Church of Danville between 2003 and 2013, Roelfs confirmed.
Roger VanRaden was charged with a Class 1 felony alleging that he had sex with the girl on different dates at a time when he was in a position of trust over her, and one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse alleging fondling. That is a Class 2 felony. He was released from jail Monday after posting $7,500 cash and told to be back in court Jan. 21. Van Raden faces a mandatory prison term of between four and 15 years.
“We are also looking into church camp retreats. Most of the sexual abuse took place at the church on Market Street. The building is pretty good-sized and there is an upstairs teen room. He would frequent that area and he had an office on the main level. The gym is in a different wing in the church so there are plenty of places to go and disappear without people knowing,” Roelfs said.
While there was no suggestion that the girl was physically forced to engage in the alleged conduct, Roelfs said she was not old enough to consent to it.
“She was manipulated through trust and control,” he said.
The problem with pastor abuse in the United States is partly due to the parents' willingness to absolutely trust in the pastors and that affects children to also gain trust in pastors and church.