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Former sheriff's sergeant pleads guilty to sex with a minor

Published: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 12:37 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 11:13 p.m. CDT

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ROCKFORD – In 2008, a then-McHenry County sheriff’s sergeant gave an interview to the Northwest Herald about Internet crimes against children.

As head of the sheriff’s office evidence division, and specializing in cases that require computer and Internet forensic work, Gregory M. Pyle had a warning for parents.

“[Internet predators] lie,” Pyle was quoted as saying at the time. “Whatever they can say to get you to talk with them or get you to send them pictures of you. They’ll send you a Web cam if you don’t have one.”

On Friday, he pleaded guilty to the same charge he once was tasked with investigating.

In federal court, Pyle, 38, formerly of Crystal Lake, admitted to crossing state lines to have sex with a minor and distributing images of the sex acts over the Internet.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Love described the sex acts as “masochistic, sadistic and violent.”

Pyle faces 30 years to life in prison. U.S. Judge Frederick Kapala, who accepted the guilty plea, will sentence Pyle on April 14.

Federal sentences typically are served at 87 percent, Pyle’s U.S. Public Defender Paul Gaziano said.

On Dec. 13, 2008, Pyle took the boy, a relative who was under 12 years old at the time, to a hotel in Milwaukee, Wis. During the overnight stay, Pyle had sex with the boy and later disseminated images of the acts over the Internet, Love said.

In exchange for his guilty plea, an additional charge alleging that he produced child pornography was dropped. That charge carries a mandatory 15-year minimum sentence.

The plea agreement saves the victim from facing his abuser in court, Love said.

“He’s already facing a sentence of life imprisonment under the sentencing guidelines, and a 30-year mandatory minimum. We didn’t think there was anything added by a plea on the second count,” Love said outside the courtroom. “His plea … means the victim is protected from testifying.”

State charges against Pyle are still pending.

He was arrested on state charges in January 2012. For that he posted bond and was released, only to be rearrested on the federal indictment the following August.

McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs said the local sex charges – 10 counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, all Class X felonies – will move forward once Pyle is sentenced in federal court.

While the two cases are independent, Combs, who also is the Criminal Division Chief, said he hopes the federal plea will entice a local one.

“We’re still going to pursue charges,” Combs said. “I would hope he’s amenable to accepting a plea deal.”

It was a long way to fall for the former U.S. Army officer and local law man, and it was a black mark for the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Keith Nygren said Pyle’s crimes should not be reflected on the men and women of the sheriff’s office.

“We had absolutely no indication that there was anything going on,” Nygren said. “As soon as we had an inkling, we were on this guy and acted as we would with any other offender.”

Pyle earned an $85,800 annual salary at the sheriff’s office, until he was relieved of his law enforcement duties after his first arrest.

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