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Sex offender who repeatedly visited Mount Zion school sentenced to 2 years in prison

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DECATUR — A Decatur sex offender who broke the law by making repeated visits to Mount Zion Grade School was sentenced to two years in prison Monday.

Michael J. Valentine, 27, pleaded guilty to one count of being a sex offender in a prohibited school zone, a Class 4 felony, when he appeared in Macon County Circuit Court.

Valentine also pleaded guilty to one count of breaking sex offender registration rules by failing to register a change of address, a Class 3 felony. He was sentenced to another two years on that offense, but the two prison terms were ordered to run concurrently. Valentine also will receive credit for the time he was held in the Macon County Jail from Feb. 8 to May 6. He was also fined $500.

As part of a plea deal worked out by Valentine’s public defender, Scott Rueter, two additional school zone offenses were dismissed along with an additional failure-to-register charge.

A sworn police affidavit from Mount Zion Police Department said Valentine was already in jail for the sex offender address violation when he was rearrested Feb. 13 for the school visits. They came to light during an investigation by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Court records show Valentine was sentenced to three and a half years in prison in 2014 after pleading guilty to the aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a 15-year-old child. He is now classed as a “sexual predator” and must register annually with police for life.

Rueter told Judge Jeffrey Geisler that Valentine was in a dating relationship with a mother whose child attended Mount Zion Grade School. “And although it wasn’t his own children, he was there acting in a fatherly capacity for his girlfriend’s child,” Rueter said.

The Mount Zion School District did not respond to a request for comment Monday. 

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


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