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updated: 5/13/2013 6:10 PM

Lake Co. sheriff's deputy charged with solicitation, obstruction of justice

Arrest stems from prostitution bust

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  • Eric Francke, a Lake County sheriff's deputy, has been placed on leave after he was charged with solicitation of a sex act and obstructing justice.

      Eric Francke, a Lake County sheriff's deputy, has been placed on leave after he was charged with solicitation of a sex act and obstructing justice.

 
 

A Lake County sheriff's deputy is suspended from duty without pay after being charged Friday with solicitation of a sex act.

Eric Francke, 33, of the 43000 block of Forest Drive in Antioch, was arrested by the Mundelein Police Department on Friday after a one-month investigation, Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim said.

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Aside from solicitation, Francke also is charged with obstruction of justice/destroying evidence, Nerheim said. He was freed after posting 10 percent of his $10,000 bail.

Nerheim said judicial rules prevent him from speaking about the charges, but he confirmed the arrest stemmed from another investigation Mundelein police launched April 3.

According to a statement from the sheriff's office, Francke was placed on administrative leave with pay April 11 due to the investigation, but he was transferred to administrative leave without pay Monday. Chief Wayne Hunter of the Lake County sheriff's office declined further comment Monday.

Attempts to reach Francke at his Antioch home were unsuccessful.

Two Chicago men were arrested by Mundelein police April 3 on allegations they forced a 23-year-old downstate woman to work for them as a prostitute, Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther said Monday. Aaron Thurmond, 22, and Jeffrey Horton, 27, were charged with trafficking in persons/involuntary servitude, promoting prostitution and money laundering.

Guenther said Thurmond, Horton and the Champaign-area woman were traveling through Mundelein about 11:15 p.m. when an officer noticed the headlights of their vehicle were turned off. The officer made a traffic stop, Guenther said, and searched the vehicle.

During the search, police said, the woman told officers she was paid $300 to have sex with a man in Wauconda and was heading to meet another man in Antioch.

That man turned out to be Francke, Guenther confirmed.

"From there, all the information was turned over to the state's attorney's office and charges were handled by them," he said. "We also contacted the sheriff's office to ensure this was handled in the most appropriate way."

Francke has been a deputy with the sheriff's department since September 2008 and served in the criminal investigations division, according to the office's statement Monday.

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