CICERO – Cicero police announced charges Wednesday against a youth minister at a Cicero church with multiple felony counts resulting from an ongoing criminal sexual abuse investigation.
Juan David Ferreras, 43, of the 5700 block of West 35th Street, Cicero, was employed at Sonido De Alabanza Church, located at 5510 W. 25th St., as a youth minister, photographer and teacher at the church, town spokesman Ray Hanania said.
Police alledge Ferreras engaged in sexual acts and sexual conduct with at least six juvenile victims ranging from 9 to 17 years of age.
According to police, the sexual acts occurred at numerous locations in Cicero, including Sonido De Alabanza Church, at Ferreras’ apartment and at two camps where he ran youth retreats for Sonido De Alabanza Church; a camp and retreat center in Tsikilwa, Ill., and at a retreat and conference center in Ingleside, Ill.
Ferreras was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, two counts of criminal sexual assault, sexual exploitation of a child, indecent solicitation of a child, four counts of distribution of harmful material and battery, police said.
Police Supt. Bernard Harrison said that on March 22 one of the victims reported Ferreras to one of the church elders, who immediately contacted the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS).
"Just like they were mandated to do," Harrison said of the person who reported the incident. DCFS then contacted police, who took Ferreras into custody April 4.
Still, police are concerned there are even more victims that they don't know about, due to the length of time the alleged abuse took place.
"From the information we have, we know there are at least two more victims," Harrison said. "It's been going on for six years. We suspect there might be more because of the time frame."
Investigators are reaching out to identify more victims and are asking individuals who may have experienced sexual assault involving the suspect to contact the Cicero Police Department. Individuals can call Deputy Supt. Jose Gonzalez at 708-652-2130 at extention 348 with questions, or with any information concerning sexual abuse.