Ex-suburban pastor charged with molesting boy
BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN Staff Reporter June 27, 2014 1:06PM
John Hays, 57 years old. Chicago Sun-Times
Updated: July 29, 2014 6:13AM
A former pastor of a west suburban church sexually abused a boy who was his neighbor and a parishioner, Cook County prosecutors said Friday.
John Hays, 57, allegedly abused the victim from the time he was 8-years-old until he was 13, Assistant State’s Attorney Beth Novy told a judge.
Hays, of the 5800 block of West Race, was listed in police records as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of River Forest.
“Beginning when the victim was about 8 years old, the victim would go to the defendant’s house to play video games with the defendant’s sons. While the boys were playing the games, [Hays] would enter the room and place the victim on his lap” and fondle him, Novy said.
Hays played what he called “a tickle game and touch the victim all over the victim’s body,” Novy said.
Hays allegedly also squeezed the boy’s upper thigh when driving the boy to school.
When the victim was 19-years-old, he attended a training program to become a camp counselor, Novy said.
“During the training the victim learned about how to respond if he were to learn of the sexual abuse of a child,” she said. “That triggered the victim’s memory and he immediately outcried to his parents, who in turn confronted [Hays] in the company of other community members.”
Hays admitted “to touching the victim’s penis and upper thigh just as the victim had recounted,” Novy said.
Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. ordered Hays held in lieu of $250,000 bail.
Hays’ attorney, Robert Heap, told the judge his client is no longer working at the church, which the church’s current pastor confirmed.
Heap declined further comment following Friday’s court hearing.