A southern Illinois church leader is in jail on $500,000 bond on charges of child sexual abuse.
Jeffrey Strait, a 47-year-old deacon at First Baptist Church of Fairview Heights, is accused of sexually abusing boys he met through his work with youth groups at his home in Shiloh.
Since the initial complaint, five other males have come forward with similar claims, the Belleview News-Democrat reported.
According to police, most of the alleged victims who have come forward are now adults, but their claims of childhood sexual abuse by Strait are being investigated.
Thanks to the courage of one brave survivor, other victims who have suffered in silence for years can begin healing.
It is my hope that anyone who has witnessed or suffered sexual abuse by Jeffrey Strait will come forward. When predators and the institutions that protect them are exposed, children are safer and healing can begin.