Cicero youth minister Juan Ferreras accused of child sex abuse

April 9, 2014 (CICERO, Ill.)

Bond was set at $2.4 million for Ferreras. He worked at Sonido De Alabanza Church, 5510 W. 25th Street, as a youth minister, photographer and teacher.

On Wednesday night, the founding pastor of the Cicero church, Bishop Juan Ferreras, told his congregation to sit down, then explained how he turned his own 43-year-old son in to authorities after several boys in the church accused Juan David Ferreras of sexual assault. The Ferreras family told Sonido de Alabanza members they have nothing to hide.

"We are devastated. We are broken hearted," Pastor Esdras Ferreras, alleged offender's brother, said. "Children came forward to us, to let us know this had happened over the years. Immediately confronted my brother. Verified this had been the case. Fired him and contacts DCFS."

Juan David Ferreras worked as a popular youth minister, photographer and teacher when he allegedly assaulted six kids ranging in ages 9-17. Some of the alleged assaults took place at the church, Ferreras' apartment and two youth camp retreats in Tsikilwa and Ingleside, both of which are in Illinois, police said.

"We think that a couple may have occurred in the church, and the boys had then come back to his apartment on several occasions under different guises. He would tell them different things to get them to come home. And then, obviously, one thing led to another from there," Deputy Superintendent Gonzalez said.

Police say the abuse dates back five or six years, but it wasn't until last month that Ferreras' father and brother learned about it.

"What happened was children came forward to us to let us know this happened over the years, so we immediately confronted my brother and he verified it," said Esdras Ferreras.

Esdras Ferreras , who is the current pastor, fired his brother and called DCFS. On Tuesday night, parishioners were in full support of their church leaders as they led for prayers.

"You think you know a person and then you really don't, we are asking prayer for victim, church and obviously brother," said Esdras Ferreras.

Cicero police said they became aware of the allegations against Ferreras on March 22 when someone from the church called DCFS after looking into why some boys quit participating in events.

"He then dig a little digging on his own, and spoke to someone who knew these boys," Deputy Superintendent Gonzalez said.

"If I did that I would expect him to denounce me," Bishop Juan Ferreras, father, said through a translator. "We have to protect the children. This is a trauma they will never get over. There is no worse crime."

Alleged victims should call Deputy Superintendent Gonzalez at 708-652-2130 ext. 348.

Ferreras faces charges of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse, Criminal Sexual Assault (two counts), Sexual Exploitation of a Child, Indecent Solicitation of a Child, Distribution of Harmful Material (four counts), and Battery.

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