Youth pastor at Dunning church charged with soliciting underage parishioners

SHARE Youth pastor at Dunning church charged with soliciting underage parishioners

Victory Worship Center, 3750 N. Neva, Chicago. | Google

A youth pastor has been accused of sending nude photos and videos to four girls who attended the Dunning neighborhood church where he worked, as well as asking for and receiving photos of them.

Daniel Ramos, 29, faces felony counts of indecent solicitation of a child, soliciting child pornography and grooming, Cook County prosecutors said at his bail hearing Tuesday at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Prosecutors said Ramos’ exchanges with the girls happened between January 2015 and August 2017 when the girls were between 12 and 17 years old.

Ramos joined Victory Worship Center, 3750 N. Neva Ave., in 2014 and was made a youth pastor sometime around the following year, Assistant State’s Attorney Jacqueline Marquardt said. Ramos met and befriended the four girls and began reaching out to them on social media.

Daniel Ramos | Chicago Police

Daniel Ramos | Chicago Police

Over time, he began complimenting them on their appearance and later requested they sent him photos of their bodies, Marquardt said. Some of the girls sent Ramos photos of themselves, both clothed and unclothed. Ramos also sent lewd photos of himself, as well as videos of him masturbating.

Eventually Ramos began asking two of the girls for sex, and told one that he would pick her up and take her somewhere private, Marquardt said. He met with another girl at his office after she turned 18 and they were “intimate” on at least two occasions.

Prosecutors did not say if the office was located at Victory Worship Center.

The exchanges came to light when one girl told her mother about Ramos’ conversations with the other girls, Marquardt said. The mother told two pastors at the church, and one confronted Ramos, who “made admissions to sending and receiving inappropriate photos” with two of the girls.

“Church officials are working with and cooperating with authorities to provide any and all known information,” Christopher Wallace, a pastor at Victory Worship Center, said in a statement.

Wallace said Ramos was no longer affiliated with the church and had not been for “numerous months.”

Chicago Police detectives were able to recover partial conversations between one of the girls and Ramos on her phone, Marquardt said. He was taken into custody Monday and his phone was recovered, but has not been analyzed.

Ramos’ attorney said he owns his home in Burbank, has been married for nine years and works in construction.

Judge Stephanie Miller set Ramos’ bail at $100,000 and ordered him to have no contact with anyone involved in the case. He was also ordered not to use the internet or have contact with anyone under 18, with the exception of his son if another adult is present.

Miller declined prosecutors’ request to put Ramos on electronic monitoring if he posts bond.

Ramos was scheduled to return to court May 22.

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