A 58-year-old man who prosecutors said admitted “liking children because of their innocence,” is accused of abusing an 11-year-old girl, at least twice while in a synagogue, prosecutors said.
Phillip Eliah, 58, of the 2900 block of West Fargo Avenue, turned himself in to authorities on Wednesday afternoon, Chicago police said.
Eliah was in court on Friday afternoon for a bond hearing broadcast on YouTube on the felony charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim between 13 and 17, grooming and solicitation of child pornography, police said.
Prosecutors said Eliah, who was a family friend who attended the same synagogue where the victim’s father is a rabbi, began abusing her when he was 56 and began by telling the girl, who is now 14, “he loved her,” when she was 11 and kissed her on the lips when she was 12, prosecutors said.
Twice about four months prior to his arrest, he sexually abused her in her father’s synagogue, the second time about a week after the first time, according to prosecutors, who also alleged he kissed her on the lips there, but no one witnessed it,
Last month, he bought her a cellphone, which was to be kept “secret” and just between the two of them. Soon after, he began asking her to text him inappropriate pictures of herself, while sending her lewd pictures of his body and “consistently” telling her he “loved her,” prosecutors said.
When her parents found the phone and pictures, they called police.
Judge Arthur Wesley Willis set bail for Eliah at $600,000 and ordered him back to court on Aug. 19.
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