WHEATON, Ill. (STMW) – A north central Illinois man charged with sexually abusing a child earlier this year in Naperville is an adjunct professor at a community college and, reportedly, a minister.
James W. French, 63, of Dakota, remains in the DuPage County Jail on a $250,000 bond. He faces a felony charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Naperville police arrested French at his home last week and seized what Sgt. Gregg Bell characterized as “pertinent evidence to the investigation.” Police on Nov. 16 began looking into French’s activities after being contacted by officials of the DuPage County Children’s Advocacy Center, which investigates child molestation allegations.
An Internet autobiography indicated French is an adjunct professor of history at Rock Valley College in Rockford, where he has taught courses in U.S. history and western and eastern civilization. Dakota is about 15 miles west of Rockford.
Nancy Chamberlain, the college’s director of communications, on Tuesday confirmed French’s status as an adjunct professor.
Chamberlain said she could not comment on whether French has been placed on leave or dismissed. She said another professor has taken his course load and duties “for the remainder of the semester.”
French’s autobiography says he has a bachelors degree from the University of Illinois, a master’s from Cal State Fullerton and a master of divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield. He reportedly has taught at a Catholic school in Freeport and worked as a substitute teacher at the elementary and high school levels.
He identifies himself as the “Reverend James W. French,” although the autobiography did not indicate whether he is or was affiliated with a particular church or denomination.
French is scheduled to appear Dec. 16 before Judge Daniel Guerin in DuPage County Circuit Court.
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