Chicago man pleads guilty to using Instagram, Snapchat to groom McHenry child

21-year-old man gets prison time, probation and must register as a sex offender for life

Griffin Kreho

A 21-year-old man pleaded guilty Wednesday to grooming a McHenry child and possessing images of child sexual abuse and was sentenced to prison for three years and two years of special probation, and must register as a sex offender for life.

Griffin Kreho, of the 2500 block of West Haddon Avenue in Chicago, pleaded guilty to the possession charge, a Class 2 felony, and grooming, McHenry County court records show. In exchange for accepting the plea deal, similar but more serious additional charges were dismissed, including four Class X counts of possession of images depicting child sexual abuse. Also dismissed were misdemeanor charges of sexual exploitation of a child and enticing a child, court records show.

Kreho was sentenced to three years in prison for the grooming charge and two years of probation for the child images and will serve the terms consecutively, McHenry County Judge Mark Gerhardt said in handing down the sentence. Had he been convicted on the Class X charges, Kreho, who had been scheduled to go to trial in March, could have spent decades in prison.

He also must register as a sex offender for life. He is required to serve half of his prison term and he then will be on six months of mandatory supervised release. He also was ordered to pay $4,838 in fines and fees.

The charges to which Kreho pleaded guilty stem from July 2021 allegations that he possessed on a computer lewd images on digital video of a person he knew or should have known was under the age of 18, according to the indictment on file in the McHenry County court. He also pleaded guilty to “using computer online services Instagram and Snapchat to seduce, solicit, lure or entice” a child younger than 17 to distribute explicit “digital photographs,” according to the indictment.

A woman in court Wednesday read an impact statement on behalf of the victim, whom said she was a child when Kreho told her he loved her, only to manipulate her. The statement said he threatened to show images of her to his “4,000 followers.”

“I was trapped under your complete control and you knew it,” she said. What he did to [the victim] made her feel “disgusting” and she “hated” herself for allowing herself to be “manipulated by someone” and he knew what he was doing, she said.

Gerhardt said he would recommend Kreho enroll in a bootcamp program. The judge also ordered Kreho to participate in sex offender risk assessment and be evaluated for his mental health and alcohol and substance use and abuse. He also will have his electronic devices monitored by court services during probation, the judge said.

Kreho also will not be allowed to consume any alcohol or illegal substances and must submit to random screenings while on probation. He is to have no contact with the witness in the case, Gerhardt said.