Jail, not prison time for former youth minister caught in online sex sting

A former youth minister at an Illinois church is headed to jail for exposing himself on a computer webcam to a police officer posing as a 14-year-old girl.

Barry Caudle cried and asked for mercy in front of Judge Mike Meersman at his sentencing hearing in Rock Island on Tuesday.

“I had a compulsion to the computer, I was leading a double life,” Caudle said. “I’m sorry for hurting First Assembly leadership, pastors, parishoners. I know they were devastated.”

Caudle was the youth minister at First Assembly of God Church in Marengo, Illinois when he was caught in an online sting last year, exposing himself over the Internet, after meeting someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl in an online chat room.

It was really Rock Island police detective Tina Noe.

“During our conversation on five separate times, he masturbated on web cam, and believing I was a 14-year-old child and he was doing this while inside of his church where he was employed,” said Noe.

Caudle cut a plea deal, and potentially faced up to two years in prison. Judge Mike Meersman instead, sentenced Caudle to 75 days in the county jail, 30 months probation, and required him to undergo sex offender therapy, citing his previous clean criminal record and the fact he had not arranged to meet with the undercover officer.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Detective Noe stated that under interrogation, Caudle admitted the webcam masturbation was not a first, but one of several incidents exposing himself to young girls via his church computer. Noe said he told her he had an affinity for girls between the ages of 8 and 15.

“I was wrong for what I’ve done and I’m ready to get sex offender treatment to end this chapter in my life,” Caudle told the judge.

He is to report to jail April 23rd.

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