DECATUR — Michael J. Valentine pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Macon County Court to three charges that he violated his sex offender registration status by repeatedly visiting Mount Zion Grade School.
Valentine, 27, represented by defense attorney Timothy Tighe, told Judge Phoebe Bowers he was waiving his right to a preliminary hearing.
She said the case will be heard by Judge Jeffrey Geisler and scheduled it for a pretrial hearing April 2. What happens then may be linked to an earlier charge Valentine also faces of violating his sex offender registration reporting requirements.
Valentine was being held in the Macon County Jail on that charge when the prosecution said evidence of the school visits was discovered by investigators working for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Valentine, who remains in custody on $18,500 bond, was re-arrested at the jail Feb. 13 and charged with the three new counts.
Discussing the different cases with Macon County State’s Attorney Jay Scott, Bowers pointed to a disposition hearing already set for April 2, which implies a plea deal might be in the works on the earlier violation charge, in which Valentine has also pleaded not guilty.
Speaking after the hearing, Scott said he would have to discuss the issue with his prosecutors and defense attorneys and see where the cases might be heading. Trial counsel for Valentine is public defender Scott Rueter.
A sworn police affidavit said the school visits were on occasions when Valentine was accompanied by his girlfriend, who has a child attending the school.
Court records show Valentine was ordered to register with police as a sex offender for life after pleading guilty in 2014 to a charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving a 15-year-old. He was sentenced to 3½ years in prison in that case.