Prosecutors: Church elder secretly recorded children

After a year-long investigation, prosecutors announced 21 new charges.

A Bethalto church elder faces more than a dozen child pornography charges.

Prosecutors say David Von Bergen, 59, secretly video taped children and others in the Zion Lutheran church bathrooms and changing areas.

Von Bergen was arrested last year, but has been out on bond since. Prosecutors say the 21 new charges are the result of a year long investigation into Von Bergen's activities.

Court documents show Von Bergen allegedly filmed children as young as 3 years old some time between  June and December 2015. His oldest victims were in their 50's.

Von Bergen is now charged with 10 counts of producing and possessing child pornography, as well as several counts of unauthorized video recording. He faces 30 years in prison on each child pornography charge, if found guilty.

Madison county State's Attorney Tom Gibbons says despite a year long investigation and full cooperation from church members, they still have not been able to identify all the victims caught on tape by Von Bergen.

"You never know what a person is up to, and certainly for this church community, it's going to be very difficult. He was closely connected to them," said Gibbons.

Prosecutors say he also had a large amount of child pornography in his possession, and his son is currently serving prison time for strikingly similar crimes.

"His own son just last month was sentenced to 80 years in the Illinois department of corrections for production of child pornography and possession of other child pornography. So it certainly seems, from the facts we have known to us, that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree," said Gibbons.

Gibbons also says Von Bergen's son was behind bars at the time his father's alleged crimes occurred. The former church elder is being held without bond .

He could face well over 100 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

© 2017 KSDK-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment