Crime & Courts

Former youth baseball coach admits to possessing child porn

WOODSTOCK – A one-time youth baseball coach admitted Wednesday to possessing sexual images of young boys, as details surrounding his arrest emerged in court.

Marcus J. Sabo, a former coach with the Crystal Lake Babe Ruth organization, pleaded guilty Wednesday to 20 counts of possession of child pornography. A remaining 40 counts were dismissed as part of the plea deal.

According to prosecutors, Sabo last year sent a text message to a 16-year-old player indicating he was suicidal.

Crystal Lake police checked on the well-being of the man, and as a result discovered text messages Sabo sent the boy that were “overtly sexual in nature,” Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said.

In the messages, Sabo told the boy he wanted to find a 14-year-old boy to masturbate to, that he liked to meet teenage boys online, and had conversations with the boy about genitalia and masturbation, Kenneally said.

Sabo was not charged as a result of those text messages. Sixty counts of possession of child pornography were filed in April 2013.

“There was no solicitation nor did it appear he was attempting to alarm and disturb [the teen],” Kenneally said outside the courtroom.

The 41-year-old entered a blind guilty plea, meaning there was no agreement between attorneys on a possible sentence. Possession of child pornography is a probational Class 3 felony.

Any possible prison time will be served simultaneously. He faces anywhere between two to five years in prison, but he is eligible for probation. Prosecutors intend to ask that Sabo serve prison time. He also must register for life as a sex offender.

Sabo’s guilty plea was accepted by McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather, who will sentence him on March 12.

An attorney for the baseball league couldn’t immediately be reached, but the organization previously has said the accusations did not involve any athletes, league property or equipment.

“As soon as the charges were filed, Sabo’s positions with the league were revoked and he was barred from having contact with the league or its athletes,” the statement read.

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