Lawyer wants 2005 sexual abuse charges for former teacher from Forsyth dismissed
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Lawyer wants 2005 sexual abuse charges for former teacher from Forsyth dismissed

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Jonathon Hovey, left, with his attorney, Tristan Bullington, in front of Judge Scott Drazewski on Aug. 16, at the McLean County Law and Justice Center.

BLOOMINGTON — An attorney for Jonathon Hovey is seeking the dismissal of two sexual abuse charges filed against the former McLean County Unit 5 first grade teacher because he said the allegations are 14 years old and some evidence no longer exists. 

Hovey, 37, of Forsyth, pleaded not guilty to all of the charges in August.

On Friday, Judge Scott Drazewski set a hearing for 2:30 p.m. on March 23 on the motion filed in McLean County Circuit Court by defense attorney Tristan Bullington on Thursday. The state was given until March 13 to file a written response.

The charges have "created substantial prejudice against the defendant" because a recording of an initial interview in 2005 with the victim has been destroyed, said Bullington in his motion.

"A delay of 14 years without any justification is not reasonable, as a result, defendant has established both substantial prejudice, and an unreasonable delay," Bullington also contended.

The two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse allege crimes between Aug. 1, 2004, and May 31, 2005, involving a student.

Conduct alleged in those two charges was investigated in 2005 and no charges were brought at that time. 

Hovey also faces a separate trial on two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, both Class X felonies, and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse (Class 2) that are alleged to have occurred between Aug. 1, 2017, and May 31, 2018, with another student.

"As part of the original investigation the alleged victim was interviewed by the Child Advocacy Center on Oct. 13, 2005, and a recording of that interview was made," the motion stated. "On Nov. 7, 2005, the case against Mr. Hovey was closed, with the police determining 'there is no evidence to support criminal charges of Mr. Hovey.'"

At some unknown point, the recording of the victim's interview was destroyed, Bullington stated in the motion.

The Department of Children and Family Services also did an investigation in 2005, which it closed that same year as "unfounded," according to the motion.

All of the Department of Children and Family Services' records from that investigation have been expunged from their records, according to the motion.

Police interviewed the victim on July 8, 2019.

"Actual prejudice against the defendant exists here, where statements made by the alleged victim, that did not support the bringing of charges against the defendant, have been destroyed," said Bullington in his motion. "No efforts were made by the state to bring charges against the defendant between Nov. 7, 2005, and April of 2019."

Judge: Former Unit 5 teacher's sexual misconduct charges will be split into two trials

Former Unit 5 teacher asks court to separate sexual assault charges

2019 mug shots from the Herald & Review

Contact Maria Nagle at (309) 820-3244. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle


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