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Former Decatur church volunteer denies sexually assaulting multiple girls

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DECATUR — Brandon N. Tovar, the former Decatur church volunteer youth worker accused of sexually assaulting and abusing several girls aged from under 13 to 16, is pleading innocent and ready to face trial on the charges.

Tovar, 36, had appeared in Macon County Circuit Court Friday with his defense attorney, Kevin Sanborn, and told Judge Rodney Forbes he wanted to waive a preliminary hearing where the judge would listen to evidence and decide if there was probable cause to try him.

Tovar, who used to serve with Heartland Community Church, then entered not guilty pleas on one charge of predatory criminal sexual assault and five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Forbes assigned the case to the trial call of Judge Thomas Griffith and scheduled a pretrial hearing for April 21. Tovar remains in the custody of the Macon County Jail with bail set at $400,000, meaning he must post a bond of $40,000 to be released.

The charges against Tovar stem from a series of Decatur police investigations against the defendant sparked by accusations from several children and their parents.

Charges had first been filed against him in October involving a girl aged 12. After news reports of those allegations, sworn affidavits said the mother of a 13-year-old girl had come forward to accuse Tovar of sexually assaulting her daughter. Police Officer Martin St. Pierre said interviews with the child had detailed her being molested while on overnight visits to Tovar’s home when he insisted she had to sleep in his bed.

And St. Pierre said a 16-year-old girl had also come forward after Tovar’s October arrest and described being “groped in her private places” when alone with him and that he enjoyed watching her take showers.

“(She) disclosed these incidents occurred approximately 10 times during the months of June and July of 2020,” St. Pierre had said in the affidavit.

Mug shots from the Herald & Review 

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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