Judge denies request to find Harvest Bible ex-youth pastor not guilty of sexual exploitation
The trial of a youth pastor charged with sexual exploitation of a child will continue after a judge on Tuesday denied a request to immediately find Paxton Singer not guilty.
Kane County Judge Michael Noland ruled the case against the 25-year-old Sugar Grove man should go on after viewing the evidence presented by the prosecution in the light most favorable to prosecutors.
The trial will resume at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 15. The defense may present evidence and witnesses at that time or the case could go straight to closing arguments.
Noland said prosecutors have to prove four elements of the crime of sexual exploitation of a child, which is when a person knowingly entices a person younger than 17 to remove an item of clothing for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of the adult or the child.
He said it is clear the boy in the case was younger than 17 and that Singer asked for a photo of the boy in his underwear. "If not for sexual gratification, why else would this defendant ask for such a photo?" Noland said.
He also denied a motion for a directed verdict on a charge of disorderly conduct, which accused Singer of disturbing the peace of the boy's parents, who saw some of the text messages Singer allegedly sent.
Singer was a youth minister for Harvest Bible Chapel. He is accused of asking a boy, then 15, for a photo of the boy in his underwear, a photo of the underwear, and for the boy to stay at his house overnight. He did so via text messages between February and December 2017, according to the charges.
Both charges are misdemeanors. If convicted of sexual exploitation, Singer could face up to a year in jail. The disorderly conduct charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail.