A former Rochester pastor pleaded guilty in Macon County court Friday to a charge of grooming a minor under a negotiated deal.
Joseph M. Krol, 37, was the former senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Rochester.
Krol had a previous address in Dawson. Online court information listed a home address as Chatham.
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Grooming is an act by which a person uses a computer or mobile device to seduce or attempt to seduce, solicit, lure or entice a child under 17 years of age to commit any sex offense.
Krol allegedly sent sexual messages and images via the messaging platform Snapchat to a 15-year-old girl in Oreana, which is 10 miles northeast of Decatur, for a three- to four-month period prior to his arrest on Oct. 15.
The girl and her family had been members of Galilee Baptist Church in rural Macon County where Krol previously served for several years.
Under the plea agreement, charges of solicitation to meet a child, obstruction of justice and enticing a child to remove clothes were dropped.
Krol has to register as a sex offender with the Illinois State Police. He is on two years' probation.
On Dec. 1, Krol pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Krol wanted the girl to send him nude photos of herself, according to a sworn affidavit from a Macon County sheriff's deputy.
According to the affidavit, in what amounted to a game of "true confessions," Krol described his sexual past to the girl. Krol wanted to know if the girl could sneak out when everyone in her home was asleep, the affidavit stated. Krol also promised gifts to the girl.
Krol started at First Baptist Church as senior pastor on July 18, 2021. He was immediately suspended following his arrest and later fired.
Krol was represented in court Friday by Robert I. Wrigley, a Decatur attorney.
Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788, email@example.com, twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.
This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Former Rochester pastor pleads guilty to grooming charge in court deal