O'Fallon camp counselor charged with sex abuse of child

News-DemocratMarch 27, 2014 

An O'Fallon Parks and Recreation Department camp counselor has been charged with a felony and two misdemeanors related to the alleged sexual abuse of a child.

Nicholas A. Cherry, 19, of 1117 Butternut Lane, O'Fallon, was charged by the St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office with possessing a nude photo of a 14-year-old female, a Class 3 felony, and two misdemeanor counts of sexual exploitation of a child, one for exposing himself to the victim and the other for convincing her to undress.

O'Fallon Mayor Gary Graham said Thursday that Cherry was immediately relieved of his duties as soon as city leaders found out about the allegations.

"At this time, there does not appear to be a connection with his position as a camp counselor" and the charges, Graham said. "We always err on the side of protecting our children in these situations, and immediately removed Mr. Cherry from our camp counselor position."

O'Fallon Police Department Lt. Mick Hunter said the victim doesn't live in the state of Illinois and all the communication between her and the suspect took place electronically. Police began investigating the case after receiving an anonymous letter that laid out the allegations against Cherry.

Hunter said the meeting between the suspect and the victim had nothing to do with Cherry's job as a part-time, seasonal worker.

"We don't believe there are any other victims in Illinois," Hunter said. "But we're investigating because we would prefer to err on the side of good."

The O'Fallon Police Department is asking anyone with information about the case or who might have been victimized by the suspect to call Detective Carl Walker or Hunter at 624-4545.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at swuerz@bnd.com or call 239-2626.