Breaking News Bar
posted: 6/30/2010 12:01 AM

Big Brother arrested on charge he molested boy

Success - Article sent! close
  • Leonard Puccini

    Leonard Puccini


McHenry County authorities arrested a 50-year-old man Tuesday on allegations he molested a 12-year-old boy he was mentoring last year through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Leonard W. Puccini, of the 9000 block of Shadow Lane in Bull Valley, faces a charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse stemming from claims he inappropriately touched the boy July 21, 2009, at his residence.

The McHenry County Sheriff's Apprehension Unit arrested Puccini without incident Tuesday morning and took him to the McHenry County jail. He was released later in the day after posting a $5,000 bond.

The arrest is the result of a 10-month investigation initiated when the boy's mother called police believing someone was trying to hack into her computer, Sheriff Keith Nygren said. During the investigation, Nygren said, the boy reported that Puccini had touched him last summer.

A listed number for Puccini was temporarily out of service Tuesday, according to a recorded message.

Sheriff's detectives are investigating whether there may be other victims out there.

"We don't know if (Puccini) has been a mentor for other children through this or any other program," Nygren said. "We don't know if there are other victims. Certainly there could be."

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's criminal investigation division at (815) 338-2144.

Bob Akers, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County, said Puccini was with the organization for just over two weeks last year, from April 23 to May 11, at which time his match with the boy ended.

Akers said he could not discuss the reasons the match ended, but it was unrelated to the criminal allegations that have arisen since. Any contact between him and the boy after then was outside the auspices of the organization, he said.

The match was made, Akers said, after Puccini passed through a "rigorous" screening process that included criminal background checks, a Department of Children and Family Services check, a home interview and a training program for would-be mentors.

Puccini's arrest is the first time in the agency's 20 years that one of its mentors has been accused of abusing a child, he added.

"We would never match a child to someone we have concerns about," Akers said. "We feel we've done the right things. All you can do is the best you can. Our first priority is the safety of the kids."

Puccini, who faces a maximum three to seven years in prison if found guilty, is scheduled to appear in court July 21.