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Article posted: 10/18/2013 5:49 PM

Former McHenry County mentor receives 5-year sentence

Leonard Puccini

Leonard Puccini

 
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A former McHenry County Boys and Girls Club mentor was sentenced to five years in prison Friday for sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy in 2009 that he met through the Big Brother program.

Leonard Puccini, 53, of Bull Valley, was convicted in May 2013 after a bench trial before McHenry County Judge Michael Feetterer and faced up to seven years behind bars.

Prosecutors said Puccini groomed the boy by buying him gifts, sending him text messages professing his love, and sent an email to the boy's mother offering money to let him adopt he boy.

The mother cut off their relationship after the son said Puccini inappropriately touched him at Puccini's home in July 2009; Puccini was not serving as the boy's Big Brother at the time.

Four adult men 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.

Assistant State's Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein argued for the maximum seven-year sentence.

"We had evidence since the 1980s that he was sexually molesting boys. Obviously, he hasn't stopped," she said.

Defense attorney Steven Greenberg, who could not immediately be reached for comment, argued for probation.

Puccini can have his sentence halved for good behavior behind bars. After his release, he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Eisenstein said prosecutors dismissed other pending charges of criminal sexual assault and computer tampering that were filed against Puccini.

Puccini, who had been free on bond, began serving his sentence immediately.

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