Chicago pastor who tutored 12-year-old twin sisters arrested for inappropriately touching the students
51-year-old Jeffery Parks has been charged with one felony count of predatory criminal assault of a victim under 13 and one felony count of aggravated criminal abuse of a victim under 13
A Chicago pastor who offered tutoring services in his apartment has been arrested on Friday, May 24, on suspicion that he had inappropriately touched two 12-year-old twin sisters who were his students.
According to the Chicago Tribune, 51-year-old Jeffery Parks, of 5200 block of South Blackstone Avenue in Hyde Park, was arrested on suspicion of two felony counts of inappropriately touching two children younger than 13, after the victims complained about him to their mother.
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Parks reportedly began teaching the twins after their mother enrolled them in his math tutoring program, which he held at his apartment. He would go on to tutor the young girls for two-and-a-half years, from September 2016 to February 2019, with his improper behavior only coming to light earlier this month after they told their mother about his improper conduct.
"The victims relayed that beginning in 2017, the offender tutored the victims and during those tutoring sessions, the offender would inappropriately place his hands on the victims’ bodies," wrote Officer Michael Carroll, a police spokesman, in a statement for the Chicago Police Department. He wrote that Parks had "abused the two victims on multiple occasions," with prosecutors stating that the pastor touched one of the victims' vagina over her clothes "more than one time".
Prosecutors said the 51-year-old also touched the other victim's thighs, breast, and vagina over her clothes, and that he also touched her vagina and breasts, making skin-to-skin contact. The allegations came after their mother reportedly spoke to them this month about inappropriate touching and the importance of informing an adult, prosecutors revealed. Both victims have since also disclosed their abuse at the hands of Parks in videotaped interviews.
Parks appeared in court on Sunday, May 26, for a bond hearing. He has been charged with one felony count of predatory criminal assault of a victim under 13 and one felony count of aggravated criminal abuse of a victim under 13. The 51-year-old, who is a pastor at a church in Chicago and also at the Good Shepherd Church, is being held on a $100,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court again next week to face multiple counts of felony sex crimes.
It was previously reported how Illinois has been plagued by sexual abuse scandals involving religious leaders for years, noting that almost 400 Catholic clergy members have been accused of sexual misconduct in the state. Despite the prevalence of such crimes, several senior Catholic figures have been accused of covering up for and protecting the perpetrators. The problem received so much coverage and attention that even the Pope called for "concrete measures" to address sexual misconduct within the church at a Vatican summit on abuse.