By Natalie Zarowny
A 16-year-old boy said the president of Galesburg's Orpheum Theatre, 25-year-old Joshua Damewood, pressured him into exchanging sexual acts on the theater's stage, where they both work.
"I'm sorry for the young man it happened to," said Barbara Reuter, a Galesburg resident.
Folks in Galesburg were shocked that well-known Joshua Damewood was accused of the crimes that the teenage victim said happened in October.
The boy said it started when he was helping set up for a play and asked Damewood what part he got in a show.
Then, days later, Damewood allegedly forced the teen into the sex acts.
But the theater president told a different story, Damewood told police the acts were consensual and he thought the boy was over 18.
"I'm very sorry that he made such a major mistake this early in his life, it'll follow him the rest of his life," said Reuter.
Residents said the Orpheum Theatre is a staple in Galesburg and hope the incident won't shine a negative spotlight on the community.
"It's not good for our community, I'm sure, but this sort of thing I'm sure happens everywhere, and it's just sad to see it here," said Rhonda Templeton, a Galesburg resident.
Damewood has been the president of the Orpheum Theatre since August.
He's now charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and heads to court January 28th.