An associate pastor of a Near North Side church was ordered held on bond Wednesday in the sexual assault of two 16-year-old girls.
William T. Sherrod Jr., 28, an associate pastor of the Living Faith Community Church, appeared before Cook County Criminal Court Judge Laura Sullivan who ordered him held on $300,000 bail, said Marcy Jensen, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state's attorney's office.
Sherrod, of the 2800 block of West Shakespeare Avenue, is charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse, Jensen said.
Sherrod served in an unpaid position with the Living Faith Community Church, 1000 N. Sedgwick St., which is part of the evangelical Moody Church, said Hutz Hertzberg, executive pastor of the Moody Church.
The Living Faith Church serves 100 to 200 people, he said.
Sherrod also served in a paid position as director of the Kids Club at Cabrini-Green, Hertzberg said. The club, run by the Moody Church, serves more than 350 inner-city children, Hertzberg said.
According to Jensen, Sherrod allegedly sexually assaulted the girls, who were both members of the church and the club, at his home.
"He was a friend of the families and a mentor," Jensen said.
In the first case, Sherrod allegedly sexually assaulted the teen on several occasions between Jan. 23 and May 27, she said.
"First they prayed together, ... then he committed these acts of sexual abuse and sexual assault against her," Jensen said.
The second victim said he attacked her several times between June 1 and June 24, Jensen said.
The first victim told a camp counseler in mid-July, and the second told another pastor at the church, Jensen said. In court, prosecutors said Sherrod admitted the assaults to a pastor. Sherrod was convicted of two felony drug convictions in 1997 and received probation, Jensen said.
Hertzberg said that Sherrod's role in the club was to oversee staff and that he did not have contact with the children.
"He is no longer employed by Kids Club and the Ministry of the Living Faith Community Church or the Moody Church," Hertzberg said.
In a statement, Hertzberg said that the Department of Children and Family Services is investigating the allegations and that the church and club are cooperating.