Sex offender back in pulpit – Despite prison term, preacher welcomed by Baptist congregation

A southwest suburban Southern Baptist congregation allowed a convicted child sex offender to preach for the last few years — despite his past, and a warning from his previous church that he might still be dangerous, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

In 1996, Jeff Hannah was sentenced to nine years in prison for having sexual relations with four underage girls — ages 15 to 17 — while a married youth minister at Crossroads Church in Libertyville.

Hannah was paroled in 2001 and joined the First Baptist Church of Romeoville, where his new wife was a member. Soon after, the pastor moved on, and church members — aware of Hannah’s crimes — asked him to step into the pulpit until a replacement was hired, according to church members, Hannah and others.

Hannah served in that role for three years and ever since has been a fill-in preacher, teacher and music minister at the church.

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