A 71-year-old McHenry Township man is facing up to 30 years in prison after his arrest Tuesday on charges he sexually abused three minor girls in the mid 1990s.
Jack Leo Smith, of the 2800 block of Myang Avenue, was charged with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and a fourth charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse stemming from an investigation launched earlier this month when one of the girls, now 24 years old, stepped forward with the allegations.
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Smith was being held at the McHenry County jail on $80,000 bond. He needs to post $8,000 to be released.
McHenry County Sheriff's detectives began investigating Smith after the woman reported about two weeks ago he had sexually abused her around 1995, when she lived in his neighborhood just west of the Fox River.
"She hadn't told anyone until she had a conversation with a very close friend and the friend said, 'This is something you should report,' " sheriff's Detective Robb Tadelman said. "Especially when she was younger, she thought she had done something wrong and would get in trouble (if she told anyone)."
Through the woman's statement, Tadelman said, investigators located two other woman who corroborated her account and reported similar accusations against Smith. The alleged abuse, sheriff's police said, occurred between January 1995 and December 1996 and involved girls who lived in Smith's neighborhood. The girls knew one another, investigators said, but were not aware at the time they had similar interactions with Smith.
The case remains under investigation and further charges are possible, sheriff's police said. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's Criminal Investigations Division at (815) 334-4750.
Sheriff's Sgt. Michael Cisner said it is not uncommon for young victims of sexual offenses to report the abuse many years later in life.
"As they mature and get older, they see how wrong it was and they come forward to tell us what happened," he said. "You have to give these victims credit. Without them, he'd still be out there."
Smith would face a mandatory prison term of six to 30 years in prison if found guilty of the sex assault charges. Under state law, the statute of limitations on predatory criminal sexual assault charges does not run out until 20 years after a victim's 18th birthday.