WHEATON, IL --Police have charged a suburban church deacon with sexually assaulting a girl for several years. Authorities said he admitted to abusing the child since she was 3 1/2 years old.
Timothy Peltz, who serves as a deacon at Living Hope Bible Church in Roselle, is charged with four counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, a class X felony. If convicted, he could face 24 to 120 years in prison.
Nobody at Living Hope Bible Church came to the door or returned ABC7's calls for comment. Attempts to contact umbrella organizations related to the church also came up empty.
There was also no answer at the door of Peltz's home in a townhouse complex in Wheaton, where neighbors described him as a quiet gentleman. The ABC7 I-Team reports the alleged abuse began shortly after Peltz' own baby daughter died.
"That comes as a shock because again, he usually keeps to himself and he's fairly quiet," neighbor Jim Hensen said.
In court, prosecutors allege Peltz first abused the girl when she 3 1/2. He allegedly stopped for a few years, then resumed when the girl was 8-9 years of age. The abuse allegedly continued until she was 13, when she was able to resist.
Prosecutors told the court that Peltz and the victim actually attended counseling sessions, and he allegedly threatened that one of them would get in trouble if she reported the abuse.
Prosecutors said the abuse reignited in the past several months. The victim is now 16.
"The defendant said this is all the victim's fault because she was too affectionate at 3 1/2," prosecutor Jennifer Lindt told Judge Richard Russo.
There is no allegation that the alleged abuse happened either at the church or involved a church member.
Peltz is being held on $1 million bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 26.