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KANKAKEE — Adam Emling has agreed to plead guilty to setting a fire at Adventure Christian Church in Bradley in 2019, according to court records.

Emling was the church’s director of ministry operations at the time of the February 2019 incident, which caused an estimated $200,000 in damage.

His case was set to go to trial on Oct. 25 before Kankakee County Circuit Judge Kathy Bradshaw-Elliott, but Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe said Emling made the agreement to plead guilty to Class 2 arson on Oct. 15. It’s a charge that carries a possible sentence of three to seven years in prison. Emling’s sentencing is set for Jan. 21, 2022.

Emling was arrested and charged about a month after the fire. Bradley Fire investigators reported in March 2019 that Emling admitted to being at the church prior to the fire being discovered, starting the fire inside and later deleting video evidence from the church video recording system.

Emling and his wife, Rebecca, own Uplifted Bistro in Bradley. Kankakee attorneys Brian Hiatt and Kim Donald represent Emling.

Jeff Bonty is a reporter for The Daily Journal. He can be reached at jbonty@daily-journal.com and 815-937-3366.


Jeff Bonty has worked for The Daily Journal since September 1986, starting in the sports department before moving to news reporting in 2002. He's a native of Indiana and graduate of Purdue University. His email is jbonty@daily-journal.com.