Officials have been tight-lipped about the case.
John Gibbons, chief of the criminal division of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, said he could not comment on the search warrant or confirm whether there was a pending investigation involving Pastor Stephen Foster of Morning Star Church and World Outreach Center in Huntley.
The Crystal Lake Police Department did not immediately return a call Tuesday seeking comment.
Shortly after the Northwest Herald wrote about the search warrants Sunday, the church’s website went down, and its Facebook page was no longer publicly accessible. The church’s website says the site is down for maintenance. Another site for the church’s youth group, called “The River,” also was offline. The church’s Facebook page had 190 likes and 183 followers before it disappeared Sunday.
Foster has not responded to multiple requests for comment. A message left for him Tuesday at the church was not returned.
Crystal Lake police seized cellphones, tablets, CDs, hundreds of VHS tapes and other computer equipment Feb. 16 from Stephen and Mary Foster’s home, 1739 Village Court, Crystal Lake.
They also seized four vials of what is believed to be human growth hormone and two hypodermic needles, according to court records obtained by the Northwest Herald.
The same day, Crystal Lake police, the Illinois State Police, the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI’s Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory also raided Morning Star Church and World Outreach Center, at 41W350 and 41W390 Powers Road, Huntley.
Investigators took computers, external hard drives, a digital camera and other equipment.
The equipment was returned to the church the next day, according to records of search warrants filed in McHenry County.
Morning Star Church and World Outreach Center is described as an apostolic and prophetic Christian church founded in 1986, the church’s website said before it was taken down.
The church, located on 14 acres, has weekly services for its members, including a specific youth and young adult service Friday nights.
Stephen and Mary Foster are the church’s senior pastors and apostolic founders. Stephen Foster was trained at the Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, where he graduated in 1983, according to the website.
Police started investigating the couple after a Lake in the Hills Verizon Wireless store employee reported seeing child pornography July 11 on a device brought in by a woman customer who said the device belonged to her employer, who was later identified as Stephen Foster, according to court records.