Church youth leader, daycare center worker accused of sexually assaulting boy

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A church youth leader who works at a Hyde Park daycare center sexually assaulted and sexted a West Side boy he had been mentoring at the house of worship, Cook County prosecutors said.

Anthawn Ingram, who led the arts and dance ministry at Praise Temple of Restoration Church, sent sexually explicit pictures of himself and asked the then 14-year-old to do the same after the teenager had exchanged cell phone numbers with Ingram and confided in him that he had been questioning his sexuality, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Mack.

The boy was on the dance, drama and music teams at the Austin church, where Ingram allegedly fondled him over his clothes in the spring of 2013.

A few days later, Ingram drove to the boy’s house where he kissed the minor and had sex with him, Mack said.

Afterward, Ingram told the boy not to tell anyone about their tryst and asked him to delete all the pictures and text messages the two had exchanged, Mack said.

The boy told his mother and cousin about the incident this year and Ingram, 35, was arrested over the summer but was later released.

Meanwhile, as the investigation continued, authorities found hundreds of text messages and about 20 phone calls between Ingram and the boy during March 2013 and May 2013, Mack said.

Ingram’s phone was eventually seized for forensic evidence.

On the cell, detectives discovered numerous images of sex acts, Mack said.

Although these pictures were not of Ingram or the boy, the boy told detectives that Ingram sent him some of the images, Mack said.

Ingram was arrested on Tuesday while he was working at the American Kidz Academy at 5548 S. Hyde Park Blvd.

Judge Peggy Chiampas on Wednesday told Ingram that he could not return to work based on the allegations.

“I cannot ignore it and will not ignore it,” the judge said of the positions of authority Ingram held when he allegedly attacked the boy.

Chiampas ordered Ingram, of the 4900 block of Drexel Boulevard, held in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Ingram, who wore a Florida Gators coat in court, has been charged with criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse, indecent solicitation of a child, traveling to meet a minor and manufacturing harmful materials.

Neither officials with American Kidz Academy nor Praise Temple of Restoration Church, 5443 West Huron Street, could be reached for comment.

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