June 16, 2007
By Bob Susnjara
A former Gurnee police officer and Lake County sheriff’s deputy nabbed in an undercover sting pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges accusing him of having sex with an Iowa boy he met in an Internet chat room.
Donald Rager, 40, of Grayslake is charged with two counts of traveling in interstate commerce to engage in sexual conduct with a minor. The charges and a formal indictment were unsealed at his arraignment in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Rager’s trial is set for Aug. 13. His Cedar Rapids-based defense attorney, Anne Laverty, declined to comment after entering the not-guilty pleas Friday.
Illinois secretary of state records show Rager is president of Mill Creek Protection Services, 1413 Mayfair Lane, Grayslake. He was a Lake County sheriff’s deputy before he worked as a Gurnee police officer from 1993 to 1997.
Rager, ordered held without bond in a federal detention center, is accused of having sex with the boy, now 14, and videotaping the encounter Feb. 12, 2006. A complaint from the boy’s suspicious mother led to Rager’s arrest by undercover police at a mall in Dubuque, Iowa, before another sex arrangement May 18, authorities said.
An affidavit filed by FBI special agent Travis Yarbrough alleges Rager met the boy in an Internet chat room. The document states Rager set up a meeting with the teen at Dubuque’s Kennedy Mall, then took him to a hotel room for consensual sex.
Yarbrough wrote Rager played a video on a laptop computer in the hotel room that showed him discharging a firearm after having sex with another minor boy. It’s alleged Rager also ran the new video with the Iowa boy.
FBI agents obtained records indicating Rager rented the hotel room in question.
Court documents state the boy used his father’s wireless telephone to call Rager on two days in March and sent e-mails to the Grayslake man in April.
After becoming suspicious of her son’s activities, the boy’s mother contacted the Dubuque County sheriff’s department on April 20, Yarbrough wrote. The boy admitted he had sex with Rager, authorities said.
Yarbrough said the boy then led Dubuque investigators to a Web site where he posted Rager’s picture, which was compared to the man’s Illinois driver’s license image, according to court papers.
On May 11, the boy placed a monitored telephone call to Rager in cooperation with three Dubuque law-enforcement agencies.
“Don answered the telephone and indicated he was coming to the Quad Cities for an arena football game and indicated he wanted to meet the boy before the game,” Yarbrough wrote in the affidavit.
Yarbrough said authorities then used the boy’s e-mail address in an MSN chat room to contact Rager on May 14. The affidavit states Rager responded he’d bring handcuffs, matching thongs and other items for his meeting with the boy May 18.
Authorities seized Rager when he arrived for the teenager at the Dubuque mall. Rager could face a maximum of 60 years behind bars if convicted.
Rager’s Mill Creek Protection Services performed security work for Grayslake High School District 127 until it was replaced after the 2004-05 academic year, officials said. Mill Creek provides private security, patrol and investigation services.
Peter Deegan, an assistant U.S. attorney in northern Iowa, said information presented in court Friday claimed Rager is a part-time police officer in Illinois. He said the town wasn’t specified.
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