Former Greenfield Baseball Coach, IHSA Official Turns Self In For Grooming Charges

By Benjamin Cox on September 28, 2021 at 1:46pm

More information has become available on the arrest of a prominent member of the Greenfield community who turned himself in to police Sunday.

23-year-old Austin L. Bishop of Greenfield turned himself into Greenfield Police and was later taken into custody by Greene County Sheriff’s Deputies at 8:20 Sunday morning on a Greene County arrest warrant for unlawful grooming.

According to charging documents filed by Greene County State’s Attorney Caleb Briscoe on Friday, Bishop is alleged to have requested nude photos and videos of a minor via text message.

Briscoe says upon the filing of the charges, Circuit Judge Schmidt issued a warrant for Bishop’s arrest in the amount of $15,000.00 with 10% to apply. He says Bishop did turn himself in and posted the necessary cash bond to secure his pretrial release. A condition of his release is that he have no contact with the alleged victim while the case is pending.

A first appearance for Bishop in front of Greene County Circuit Judge Zachary Schmidt has been scheduled for November 1st.

Bishop is a former volunteer baseball coach for Greenfield-Northwestern High School and an IHSA Sports Official. Bishop also has served on the Greenfield Volunteer Fire Department. According to Greenfield Superintendent Kevin Bowman in an email, Bishop resigned his post as volunteer assistant baseball coach on September 22nd.

According to Illinois’ Compiled Statutes, Unlawful Grooming is defined as when an individual knowingly uses a computer online service, Internet service, local bulletin board service, or any other device capable of electronic data storage or transmission to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice, or attempt to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice, a child, a child’s guardian, or another person believed by the person to be a child or a child’s guardian, to commit any sex offense. According to the statute, any person under the age of 17 is considered a child. Grooming is a Class 4 felony.

Those charged with grooming can face a prison sentence of 1 to 3 years, along with a monetary fine of up to $25,000. If a person engages in grooming and proceeds to travel to meet a child as a result, he or she can face even more severe penalties.