Minister again charged with molestation

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

By Chris Hack
Staff writer


For the second time in two weeks, a Baptist pastor from New Lenox has been charged with molesting a child and prosecutors said they are looking for more victims.

Dennis Larry Shaw, 53, of the 2100 block of Sanford Drive, New Lenox, was charged Monday with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl, according to the Will County state's attorney's office.

On Jan. 31, Shaw was arrested on similar charges after a parishioner's 12-year-old daughter alleged she was fondled by the pastor inside the church between October and December, prosecutors said.

In the second case, a 16-year-old girl alleged she was molested earlier last year at Shaw's house.

Prosecutors said that while they believe the 16-year-old was molested before the 12-year-old, publicity of the pastor's arrest on the original charge prompted the older girl to come forward.

"The exposure of this case (on television) gave a second victim the courage to tell her story," Will County State's Attorney Jeff Tomczak said.

Prosecutors are urging other alleged victims to come forward; Tomczak said his office will investigate "any creditable complaint" and urged other alleged victims to call police.

Shaw is being held at the Will County jail in lieu of $500,000 bail. If convicted of the charges, he could be sent to prison for up to seven years.

Shaw resigned as pastor of Calgary Baptist Church in Joliet after church elders confronted him with the first girl's accusation, prosecutors said.

He also worked as a part-time school bus driver for Lockport Township High School District 205. School officials, who did not return phone calls Monday, have been notified of the charges, Tomczak said.

Chris Hack may be reached at chack@dailysouthtown.com or (708) 633-5984.



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