Illinois Pastor Charged with Grooming Teen Girl for Sex

By Josh Shepherd
Joseph Krol
On October 15, Joseph "Joey" Krol, a pastor and radio host in central Illinois, was arrested by local authorities on charges of grooming a minor. (Photo: Macon County Sheriff's Office)

A pastor and Christian radio host in central Illinois has been arrested on charges of grooming a minor, after sending a teen girl “sexually inappropriate” messages online, local authorities say.

Joseph “Joey” Krol, 36, sent sexually explicit material to the Snapchat account of a 15-year-old girl and requested nude photos of her, according to a sworn affidavit from the Macon County Sheriff’s Office. Reportedly, Krol knew the girl and her family through Galilee Baptist Church in Decatur, Illinois, where Krol has served as senior pastor since 2016.

What Krol didn’t know is that the girl’s family, located in nearby Oreana, had contacted local authorities. They captured the social media interaction as part of an undercover investigation, stated Sgt. Roger Pope per a local news report.

“(She) allowed me to take over her Snapchat account and act as her while conversing with Krol,” said Sgt. Pope in the affidavit. “During our conversations, Krol requested photos of (the girl) in her underwear.” His explicit dialogue with the minor included asking if “her fantasies” include an “interest in older men.”

Days later, officers knocked on the front door of Krol’s residence in Dawson. Through a window they observed Krol grabbing his phone and running a “factory reset” on the device. But they had already obtained the evidence.

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Krol was booked at the county jail on October 15 and charged with the Class 4 felony charge of grooming. The offense is defined as attempting to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice a child to commit a sex act.

Krol’s criminal activity of grooming reportedly began during his five-year tenure at Galilee Baptist, a Southern Baptist church in rural Decatur. In July, Krol was hired as senior pastor at another Southern Baptist church—Rochester First Baptist Church, located in neighboring Sangamon County.

Krol also worked as operations manager and an on-air host for Christian radio station WLUJ—a Moody Radio affiliate, which is owned by Good News Radio. Krol is no longer listed as an employee on the station’s website, and it is unclear when his employment there ended. The Roys Report reached out to the station but did not hear back.

Rochester Baptist posted a statement online. “We as a church are grieved to learn of this allegation involving Dr. Krol,” the church said. “Because we take this seriously, we have immediately suspended Dr. Krol from all responsibilities. We have great concern and are in prayer for all affected by the situation and will cooperate with any law enforcement investigation.”

Similarly, the elders of Galilee Baptist issued a statement, saying: “We are eager to minister to all involved in this situation and will be offering professional counseling services to the victim of the alleged incident.”

Krol and his wife, Aubrey Krol, have two children, according to Krol’s 2019 bio at WLUJ. Aubrey Krol works for the Illinois State Baptist Association (IBSA), which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Lisa Misner, public policy manager at IBSA, responded to a request for comment. “The local churches affected by this case are cooperating with law enforcement and ministering to their congregations and to those involved in the case,” she stated.

“As a network of autonomous churches, IBSA continues to offer resources to help churches protect vulnerable people and to minister in cases of sexual abuse.”

The Southern Baptist Convention has been rocked by allegations of clergy sex abuse and cover-up. On June 15, Southern Baptist messengers from across the nation adopted a strategic initiative known as Vision 2025 during the SBC Convention in Nashville. The sixth strategic action calls the convention to “prayerfully endeavor to eliminate all incidents of sexual abuse.”

Krol remains in custody at Macon County Jail, with bail set at $75,000.

Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his wife live in the Washington, D.C. area with their two children.



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15 thoughts on “Illinois Pastor Charged with Grooming Teen Girl for Sex”

    1. I too am blown away by this whole scenario. I know Joey and his family, personally and could not be more shocked. It is tragic for him, his victims and his beautiful family. We should be on our knees in prayer for pastors and their families. The devil works overtime to bring them down. I am brokenhearted for a man who is so gifted by God, and for his family, as well as the young girl he was trying to seduce. It is the mercy of God that he was caught before it got even worse.

  1. The radio station bio stated that he has served as a Christian Counselor while also on Associate staff at a former church …..

    Knowing the vulnerability of those who seek church based counseling, that’s certainly alarming

  2. I live in the area, listen to Joey in the mornings, and this is absolutely astonishing. Astonishing. God bless the young girl and her family, and yes, despite what is apparent…God bless Joey Krol and his family. This is crushing. Lord forgive me, a sinner.

    1. Maybe he was doing similar to them.

      I would not be surprised if he is abusing or grooming any daughters (especially if they are in their early to mid-teens).

  3. What is it with all these Southern Baptist clergymen and their proclivity for sex outside of their marriages? I’ve read so many accounts in the past year that I can’t keep up with them all.

  4. Since the Fundamentalist Takeover of the SBC there are few women in leadership positions. We will never know but who would this 15 year old have told her allegations to in her church. Would she have wanted to talk to the elders. I doubt it,they are all men. I am not surprised at all that the many sexual abuse allegations in the SBC have mostly been ignored by the men leaders. I am not hopeful that anything of substance changes.

    1. As soon as people in responsible positions think they are leaders and not servants (and no oxymoronic ‘servant-leader’ nonsense, please) the rot has been invited to set it. The US church needs a complete re-conceptualisation of church life and stop aping the hubristic worlds of business and politics.

  5. The parents did the right thing. They didn’t try to sort it out on their own. They went to the police. In a very sad situation their actions are the bright spot.

    1. Agreed. If abusers know the police will soon be knocking on the door, the cost of abuse has just become very high. Romans 13:4 in operation.

  6. The same “pastor” delivered a sermon about 1 month ago.

    According to that bit, if you are “truly” devout, you have nothing to worry about.

    Looks like another case of projection.

    Ever notice that those that scream the loudest about sin X or perversion Y from the pulpit are frequently the ones committing those in secret?

    Yet another reason the SBC as a denomination deserves to die and end up on the ash heap of history.

  7. My Daughter is 23 years old. I understand that she’s not a minor but she was still sexually harassed by Joey on the internet. Joey text her some sexual comments and asked her to to answer some questions related to sex. I don’t understand how he could do something like this. He baptized my child when she was 9 years old. I thought he was a man of God. I respected Joey as a spiritual leader. I feel so bad for the 15 year old girl. Thank God she turned him in. I hope he spends a long time in jail.

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