Former cheerleading coach gets probation for sex with teen

JOLIET – A former cheerleading coach was sentenced to probation Thursday after pleading guilty to paying an underage girl for sex last year.

Ray Saleh, 51, will have to register as a sex offender for the next 10 years in exchange for having charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse dropped.

Saleh, of the 600 block of Hartford Drive in Oswego, was employed at ICE Cheerleading in Aurora before he was arrested Dec. 30, 2014.

Assistant Will County State’s Attorney Mary Filli­pitch told Judge Edward Burmila that Saleh was approached at a coffee shop on Sept. 26 by a then-15-year-old runaway.

“She didn’t know him [but] told him she was a prostitute,” Fillipitch said. Saleh took the girl to a nearby park, where she performed oral sex on him in exchange for money, according to Fillipitch.

Saleh then dropped the girl off at a doughnut shop, and she was spotted a short time later by one of her teachers, who notified police.

Officers learned about the sexual encounter and reviewed surveillance video from the doughnut shop to identify Saleh, Fillipitch said.

When questioned by police, Saleh admitted to giving the girl money.

“Is that what happened, sir?” Burmila asked Saleh.

“Yes, your honor,” said Saleh, who chose not to address the court Thursday.

Saleh spent 115 days in the Will County jail and will be on sex offender probation for 30 months. Burmila noted the victim and her family were aware of the plea agreement.