URBANA, Ill. (WAND) - A former Champaign church minister who admitted to sexually assaulting a teen over a period of years will spend more than a decade in prison.
Roger VanRaden, 49, pleaded guilty in February of 2021 o two charges of criminal sexual assault. He was an assistant pastor and youth pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Champaign, located at 4601 N. Market St.
The victim of VanRaden's crimes came forward at 18 and said the sexual assault had been happening for five years, beginning in 2015.
Champaign County sheriff's investigator Dwayne Roelfs said the victim wasn't forced to take part physically but was manipulated by VanRaden with trust and control. The majority of the sexual contact was at the church.
According to The News-Gazette, 30-year Faith Baptist church pastor Bob Hassel testified that he hired VanRaden in 2014 to be a music director and youth pastor directing programs for teens in the age range of 13 to 18. VanRaden was promptly fired when Hassel learned of what had happened.
VanRaden was arrested in late 2019.
During the sentencing hearing, the newspaper said VanRaden gave a four minute long statement that involved apologies to the victim, her parents, Faith Baptist church members and his own family.
VanRaden was sentenced to 15 years in prison, of which he will have to serve just over 12 years. Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar had pushed for a maximum sentence of 23 years in prison - a limit reached in a plea deal - while defense attorney Evan Bruno of Urbana had asked for the minimum of eight years.