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updated: 5/31/2013 2:30 PM

Former Big Brother mentor guilty of sexually abusing boy

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  • Leonard Puccini

      Leonard Puccini

 
 

A former McHenry County Boys and Girls Club mentor has been convicted of sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy, McHenry County prosecutors said.

Leonard Puccini, 52, of Bull Valley, was found guilty in a bench trial held in mid-May before Judge Michael Feeterer.

Puccini faces up to seven years in prison when he is sentenced July 19.

He also has another case of criminal sexual assault and computer tampering pending against him. If convicted on the second case, Puccini faces up to 15 years in prison. A status update on that case is expected on his sentencing day.

Prosecutors said Puccini first met the victim in 2009 when he was part of the mentoring program. Puccini groomed the boy by buying him gifts, sending him text messages saying he loved the boy, and sending an email to the boy's mother offering her money to let Puccini adopt the boy, prosecutors said.

The mother ended Puccini's relationship with her son after the boy said Puccini inappropriately touched him at Puccini's home July 21, 2009. Puccini was not serving as the boy's Big Brother at the time.

Four adult men subsequently came forward and said they were abused as adolescents by Puccini in the 1980s and 1990s. The statute of limitations prevented authorities from charging Puccini with more crimes, but the men were allowed to testify in the May bench trial of how they were sexually abused in a similar manner as the victim in the case.

A message left with Puccini's defense attorney, Steven Greenberg, was not immediately returned.

Michael Combs, chief of the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office's Criminal Division, and Assistant State's Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein prosecuted the case.

Anyone with information about possible related cases is asked to call the sheriff's department's Criminal Investigation Division at (815) 334-4750.

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