Sunday, November 18, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Pastor charged with sexual abuse. Bond set at $400,000



A 49-year-old Chicago pastor is free on bond after being charged with sexually assaulting a young male church member over several years.

Jose Rolando Morales of Mount Prospect has posted ten percent of his $400,000 bond and has been released. He's charged with one count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and one count of criminal sexual assault.

He is accused of abusing the church member starting in 1996 when the young man was eleven years old. The alleged victim is now 22.

Morales is the founding pastor of Ashland Christian Ministries on Chicago's Northwest Side.

No phone listing for Jose Morales at the address provided by authorities could be found. A listed phone number for the church has been disconnected.

MORE:

For half of his life, a young Chicago man feared that if he told his secret, he'd be humiliated in front of his family — maybe even deported.

That, he says, was what his church pastor told him.

And that's what he says drove the 22-year-old to tell no one that the Rev. Jose Rolando Morales had regularly molested him for 11 years.

But with encouragement from friends and fear there might be new, young victims at Ashland Christian Ministries in Albany Park, the young man came forward.

Thursday, Morales, founding pastor of the storefront church at 3637 W. Montrose, was hit with two sexual assault charges.

"This began as the manipulation of a young child and turned into threats against a young man," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, whose office pursued the case. "And there's a strong possibility there might be other kids involved."

The victim and an investigator in Dart's office have mutual friends and the case came together quickly, he said, adding, "Thank God these [mutual friends] were vigilant and injected themselves into the situation when they saw something a bit odd."

Morales, 49, of Mount Prospect, is not married and has no children.

Morales, who police say admitted to the abuse during questioning, was in the Cook County Jail Friday night with bond set at $400,000.

Anyone with concerns about other victims should call (708) 865-4875.



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