A 70-year-old church pastor in Delaware County is accused of grooming an underage girl for a sexual relationship. He is accused of recording some of the eventual sexual encounters, investigators said.
District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer announced Monday felony sexual abuse of a child, contact with a minor for the purpose of engaging in the sexual abuse of a child, and the criminal use of a communication facility charges against Boothwyn’s Edward Lilly. Lilly is the pastor at the Christian Church of Chester (formerly the White Rock Christian Church) in Chester, Pennsylvania, the DA’s office said.
The victim, now 19, spoke to police in August. She said that she met Lilly while working as a 16-year-old cashier at a Upper Chichester Township supermarket in 2017, an affidavit of probable cause said.
A criminal complaint details how Lilly would flirt with the teen and eventually convinced her to give him her number. After she was 17, they had sex after meeting in a park, police said.
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They would proceed to have sex on other occasions and Lilly would video some of the encounters using his cellphone, the criminal complaint said.
The two also exchanged sexually-explicit videos and photos, she told investigators.
A forensics examination recovered at least one video of a sexual encounter between Lilly and the teen from devices seized from Lilly's home in August, investigators said.
“Like every case of child abuse, this is about the abuse of power," Stollsteimer said. "The defendant spotted this young girl in the check-out line at a grocery store and, over a period of months, he groomed her, initially by flirting, and then by more sexually explicit encounters. The defendant targeted this young person, knowing full well her age, as well as knowing the legal age of consent."
Lilly also allegedly gave the teenager about $2,000 during and after their relationship, the criminal complaint said. The victim told investigators that she felt the money was to keep her from telling anyone about their relationship.
"Moreover, he used money to buy the victim’s silence, and he instructed her in the deletion of text messages and images from her phone,” Stollsteimer said.
A judge arraigned Lilly on 23 counts – many for child pornography – Monday morning, according to court records. The counts all date back to 2018.
Bail was set at $100,000. NBC10 reached out to Lilly's attorney who had no comment as of Monday afternoon.
Stollsteimer said it's likely more victims are out there and urged them to come forward.
A call and email to Lilly’s church have not been returned.