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Evanston man charged with sex abuse, soliciting of 14-year-old

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An Evanston man exchanged text messages last fall with a 14-year-old he met on Craigslist before paying for a taxi to take him to his home, where the teen performed a sex act on him, prosecutors said Saturday.

Jonathan Labe, 53, of the 900 block Reba Place, was ordered held in lieu of $50,000 bond Saturday in Cook County Bond Court. Labe is charged with aggravated criminal sex abuse, indecent solicitation of a child, patronizing  a minor engaged in prostitution, solicitation to meet a child, endangering the life of a child and contributing to the criminal delinquency of a minor, according to court documents.

Labe's attorney, Miriam Szatrowski, declined comment after Saturday's hearing. Labe worked at the Chicago Tribune as an online producer in the early 2000s, according to archived versions of chicagotribune.com from the period, as well as his Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

Labe met the teen through a Craigslist listing last fall in which the teen posed as an 18-year-old looking to exchange sex acts for a place to stay, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Shawn Abraham. The two began exchanging text messages, and at some point during those exchanges, Labe learned the boy was actually 14 at the time, he said.

On Oct. 16, Labe paid for a taxi to bring the teen to his Evanston home without the knowledge of his parents. The two engaged in oral sex on two occasions, Abraham said.

Labe also allowed the teen to smoke marijuana in his apartment and "cut or slice self with a knife" without calling for help, according to court documents.

Soon after that time, Abraham said the teen's father reported him missing and authorities, using his cell phone, tracked him to Labe's home.

It's unclear why Labe did not appear in court until Saturday.

This is Labe's first arrest, Abraham said.

Labe's next court date is Jan. 28 in Skokie Branch Court.

mmanchir@tribune.com | Twitter: @Tribune MM

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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