Marengo youth minister arrested on child exploitation charges

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced the arrest today of a youth minister in Marengo, on charges of soliciting a child and other sex-related charges.  

Investigators with the Attorney General’s office arrested Barry Caudle, 39, this morning while executing a warrant at the Marengo First Assembly of God, 22817 W. Grant Highway, where Caudle serves as a youth minister.

Caudle was charged in Rock Island County with three counts of indecent solicitation of a child, a Class 3 felony punishable by two to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections; and one count each of grooming and unlawful luring of a minor, Class 4 felonies each punishable by one to three years in IDOC. Bond was set for Caudle at $150,000.

The case against Caudle originated with a Rock Island police officer posing undercover online as a 14-year-old girl, when Caudle solicited the undercover officer for sex acts, believing her to be an underage girl. The case was then handed over to Madigan’s office to investigate, which led to today’s operation.

“Some of the most heinous crimes against children start online. Child predators hide behind anonymous user names in chat rooms and instant messages to make their first contact with potential victims,” said Attorney General Madigan. “We need to shut these crimes down at the source, finding where sex offenders lurk online before they strike.”

Madigan’s office, with a grant from the Department of Justice, administers the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force, which investigates child exploitation crimes and trains law enforcement. Assisting Attorney General investigators today were the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s and Sheriff’s Offices, the Rock Island Police Department and the Rock Island County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“Our office is extremely impressed with the cooperation between all of the agencies involved today,” said Rock Island State’s Attorney’s First Assistant Norma Kauzlarich. “Everyone worked well together to apprehend an alleged offender.”

Since 2006, Madigan’s ICAC task force has been involved in 392 arrests of sexual predators and provided Internet safety training and education to more than 176,836 parents, teachers and students and more than 13,452 law enforcement professionals.

The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information in regards to this investigation or information that may lead to future investigations involving Caudle to contact the Criminal Investigation Division at (815) 338-2144.