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posted: 8/13/2010 12:01 AM

More charges against ex-Big Brother mentor accused of molesting boys

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  • Leonard Puccini

      Leonard Puccini

 
 

A onetime Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor accused of molesting a boy he met through the organization turned himself into McHenry County authorities Thursday to face even more allegations he sexually abused a boy.

The new allegations, involving a teenage boy and dating to 1991, now bring to five the number of boys and young men who have stepped forward in recent weeks claiming Leonard W. Puccini molested them over the past 21 years.

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Puccini, 50, of Bull Valley, turned himself in to the county jail about noon Thursday and about 90 minutes later posted $10,000 cash bond to go free while awaiting trial. In all, Puccini has posted $22,500 cash bond since his initial arrest in late June, allowing him to remain out of jail while charges against him are pending.

The latest charges, criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse, were filed Wednesday after a 33-year-old man contacted sheriff's police to report that he had sexual contact with Puccini multiple times while he was between 10 and 16 years old, Sheriff Keith Nygren said.

The man decided to step forward, Nygren said, after reading news accounts of the earlier allegations against Puccini.

"I think it was a very difficult thing for (the accuser) to do, but he found the courage to do it," the sheriff added.

Defense attorney Mark Gummerson said Thursday Puccini is innocent of the accusations and may challenge whether authorities are exceeding the statute of limitations by bringing charges that, in some cases, date back to 1989.

Puccini's latest arrest comes about six weeks after authorities charged him with molesting a 12-year-old boy he had first met through Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County. Puccini was no longer affiliated with the organization at the time of the alleged crime, officials said.

Sheriff's police arrested Puccini again July 29 on claims he molested three other teenage boys between 1989 and 2008. The most serious charge against him, criminal sexual assault, is punishable by up to 15 years in prison if he is found guilty.

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