MOOSEHEART, Ill. (STMW) — A former Mooseheart employee who has spent two decades in prison for sexually assaulting young boys will not be released from custody this week as expected.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office has filed a petition asking that Chad Wahl be committed as a sexually violent person and not be released until a court deems him no longer a threat. His probable cause hearing was scheduled for Tuesday at the Kane County Judicial Center.
Wahl, 44, was sentenced to 41 years in prison after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting six students while he worked as a house parent at Mooseheart near west suburban Batavia in the early 1990s. Mooseheart is a place where children with family problems, or no families, can live and attend school until they are 18.
According to Illinois law, Wahl was required to serve half of his sentence. He was expected to be released on Nov. 15, but based on a Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act evaluation completed in late September, Madigan’s office is seeking to have him committed for treatment. He is under the custody and care of the Department of Human Services at their Treatment and Detention Facility in downstate Rushville.
The evaluation, which was made available through public court records in Kane County, shows that Wahl has not undergone any sex-offender treatment during his nearly two decades in prison, and he suffers from at least two mental disorders that make it “substantially probable that he will engage in acts of sexual violence,” according to Madigan’s petition.
Wahl allegedly suffers from pedophilic disorder and narcissistic personality traits, according to Melissa Eldon-Padera, Psy.D., who administered the evaluation. Illinois law requires that anyone convicted of certain types of sex offenses be evaluated before the end of their sentence.
If the evaluation indicates that the person may be sexually violent — as defined by the law — it is up to the court to decide whether he/she will be released.
Padera conducted a three hour interview with Wahl on Sept 19, during which he denied his crimes, and any sexual inclinations he has toward children. However, jailhouse letters written by Wahl to a west suburban Oswego man he was incarcerated with, seem to show otherwise, she wrote.
Wahl has corresponded with several sex offenders, including the Oswego man, over the course of his prison stay. In these letters, Wahl outlines his desire to move to Morocco and start a child pornography business upon his release.
During Wahl’s stay at Taylorville Correctional Center, guards confiscated books, articles, and newspaper clippings relating to pornography, serial killers, and sex with children, the report showed.
In letters written to the Oswego sex offender, Wahl acknowledges that his behavior behind prison walls could get him committed under the Sexually Violent Person Act, but that he doubted it would happen.
“I have studied [and continue] every Illinois civil commitment case published,” he wrote in a letter in May 2011. “I know most of the tricks. Remember, I was a psych major.”
Padera said that during his interview, Wahl appeared to give “textbook answers” and provide her with what he thought the “right” answers would be.
When confronted with the letters he had written detailing his plans for release, his fantasies about sexually assaulting young children, and his own sexual abuse as a child, Padera said Wahl denied writing any of these things. He would respond with “confusion, memory loss, or denial,” Padera wrote.
It is Padera’s opinion that, “Mr. Wahl will engage in acts of sexual violence in the future, unless some clinical intervention has taken place.”
If he is found to be a Sexual Violent Person and committed, Wahl will remain at the Department of Human Services Treatment and Detention Facility in Rushville, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
If he is committed, Wahl will be evaluated six months after his admission, and then annually until he is deemed fit for release by the court.
According to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, Wahl was 24 when he was arrested in 1992 and accused of sexually assaulting nine different boys. He was convicted of eight counts, involving six victims.
Wahl began his job as a houseparent at Mooseheart in October 1990 and was fired on the day of his arrest.
Prosecutors said that Wahl implemented a reward program for the boys, which allowed them to sleep on the living room floor during weekend nights and watch movies. This is where most of the assaults occurred, they said.
“He would tell his victims not to tell anyone because no one would believe them…he often spent his paycheck to buy presents for the boys,” prosecutors wrote in an official statement of facts regarding Wahl’s case.
According to victims’ statements in Department of Children and Family Services investigation notes, Wahl used various “grooming” techniques on his young victims. He would buy them soda, ice cream and baseball cards and tell them, “I only do it to the best kids,” or “Don’t tell or I’ll get in trouble.”
Wahl was sentenced to 41 years in prison, with day for day credit for good behavior.
“It is also the State’s position that the defendant has little potential for rehabilitation and is likely to re-offend,” prosecutors wrote following Wahl’s sentencing. “He expressed absolutely no remorse at his sentencing hearing and declined to make a statement to the judge.”
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)