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Black Collar Crime: Southern Baptist Pastor Joey Krol Charged With Sexually Grooming Teenager

pastor joey krol

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Joseph “Joey” Krol, pastor of Rochester First Baptist Church in Rochester, Illinois, and operations manager and an on-air host for Christian radio station WLUJ, stands accused of sexually grooming a fifteen-year-old girl through Snapchat. Krol also pastored Galilee Baptist Church in Decatur, Illinois. Based on various news stories, Krol was the pastor of Galilee Baptist when the grooming took place. According to a statement on Galilee’s website, Krol left the church in June 2021.

The Herald & Review reports:

The former pastor of a Decatur church grabbed his phone and tried to wipe it of evidence he had been sending sexual messages and images to a 15-year-old girl when he realized the police were knocking on his door, a sworn affidavit said.

“Prior to answering the door, (Joseph M. Krol) is seen grabbing his cell phone and manipulating the buttons while standing in the kitchen area,” said Sgt. Roger Pope with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office.

“Deputies immediately located his phone, but (he) had factory reset the phone in an attempt to wipe all of the data.”

But the affidavit said it was already too late for the 36-year-old, who now pastors a church in Rochester, and was arrested Friday morning at an address in Dawson.

Pope said the family of the girl, who lives in Oreana, had previously turned over her phone to deputies. Evidence on the phone showed Krol had played sexually suggestive games with her and wanted nude photos.

“(She) allowed me to take over her Snapchat account and act as her while conversing with Krol,” said Pope in the affidavit. “During our conversations, Krol requested photos of (the girl) in her underwear. Unsolicited, he sent her Snapchat a video (showing the outline of his genitalia). He also asked her sexually explicit questions about … her fantasies to include her interest in older men.”

Pope said Krol tried to be careful and, believing he was speaking to the girl, would ask her to pan the room with her phone camera so that he could be sure no one else was present. He would then send her sexually explicit content.

Krol was booked on a preliminary charge of grooming, which is the offense of attempting to seduce, solicit, lure or entice a child to commit a sex act.


Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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    • Avatar
      Steve D

      I think it was Christopher Hitchens’ book that discussed the link between repression and perversion. Neither the Catholic nor the Southern Baptist church is too far off the mark here.

  1. Avatar

    I do not expect clergy to be perfect, they are simply human. I can forgive them having a bad day, bad moods, cranky etc. But garbage like this is beyond the pale. It is clearly unethical and it is illegal. It is a complete betrayal of the principals they claim to live by, I also have to wonder why people like this think they won’t get caught. They always leave a digital trail? Lastly it seems this pastor went to Colorado Theological Seminary which is an accredited college. Why waste that education? I just don’t get people like this pastor or sex offender teachers.

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