Prosecutors have upgraded from misdemeanors to felonies two domestic battery charges against Randy Hopp, a controversial Gail Borden Library trustee, from a March 2011 altercation with Hopp's elderly parents in Elgin.
Hopp, 60, says the state has been threatening this move all along if he didn't plead guilty to the misdemeanors and take two years' probation.
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"I'm not pleading guilty to anything. When it comes down to it, they're going to fold," said Hopp, who is due in court again Jan. 26.
Hopp was arrested and charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic battery after an altercation on March 16 in Elgin.
Elgin police were called to the 1500 block of Pamela Drive and Hopp's father told police that his son entered his parents' kitchen and began yelling and swearing at his mother, police said.
When his 82-year-old father tried to pull him back, Hopp punched him in the back five or six times, police said. Later, when his 80-year-old mother tried to use the phone, Hopp punched her in the upper arm, police said his father told them.
Hopp denied hitting either of his parents, reports said. He told police his parents are verbally abusive to him and that his mother pulled a knife on him in the kitchen.
Hopp is now charged with aggravated battery to a person older than 60, a felony that carries a prison term of two to five years. Probation also is an option.
Elgin police initially charged the case as a misdemeanor, but the Kane County state's attorney's office said it has the discretion to upgrade cases to felonies and it was appropriate given the ages of the parents.
Hopp said the move is part of a conspiracy to get him off the library board, or at least "out of the way."
"(Prosecutors) have been threatening to do that since the beginning. They've also known since the beginning that they have no case. They've done this to do something to make me miserable," Hopp said, adding that his parents will not testify against him in the case. "(Prosecutors are) going to play the last card they can play."
Hopp was elected in 2009 and his 4-year term on the board is up in spring 2013.
If the case goes to trial and he is convicted of a felony, it is not clear if he would automatically be removed from the library board.
Ken Menzel, deputy general counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections, said a person convicted of an "infamous crime" or any violation of the oath of that office would automatically create a vacancy.
Hopp was banned from the Gail Borden Library in June 2009 after he intimidated the staff there. He also has clashed with Library Director Carole Medal, who could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
A message left with the Kane County public defender's office, which is representing Hopp, was not immediately returned.
Hopp is allowed to attend monthly board meetings and his current one-year ban is up in June 2012.
Hopp also is banned from the Judson University Library and was banned from the now-closed Elgin State Bank in Carpentersville in 2005. The ban came with charges that Hopp threatened a bank manager, but the charges were dropped after the person who made the claim and a witness did not appear in court.