Weather Updates

Leader of church youth group in Lake Villa charged with sexual assault

Matthew J. Harder 18 1000 Block Barberry Ln Round Lake Beach

Matthew J. Harder, 18, of the 1000 Block of Barberry Ln in Round Lake Beach

storyidforme: 61436763
tmspicid: 22213692
fileheaderid: 10549446

Updated: April 4, 2014 3:41AM

A youth-group leader for a Lake Villa church was arrested last week Friday for inappropriate sexual contact with two juvenile victims.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office arrested 18-yer-old Matthew J. Harder, who lives in the 1000 Block of Barberry Lane in Round Lake Beach, according to a press release from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

He is a youth worship leader for the Chain of Lakes Community Bible Church at 43 W. Grass Lake Road in Lake Villa. The church is located east of Route 83 and west of Deep Lake Road.

According to the police press release, on Jan. 25, two female victims reported to the church that, on separate occasions, Harder had inappropriate sexual contact with them while driving them home from church.

Harder admitted to Lake County Sheriff’s Office detectives he indeed was involved in inappropriate sexual contact with both of the victims, according to the report.

Harder was charged with criminal sexual abuse, criminal sexual assault, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

His bond was set at $250,000.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

Authorities are asking for anyone who has additional information or who may have been a victim to please contact the police immediately at (847) 549-5200.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.